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Monday, March 29, 2010

Spaghettini with Courgette & Tuna

This is one of those throw together meals where I do not bother too much with measurements. If we are hungry then I will just add another courgette or two or a few extra tomatoes to bulk it up – guessing as I go. Once dished up it is important to offer everyone a black pepper grinder, a pot of (Maldon) sea salt and some freshly grated parmesan which some may say is sacrilegious with fish. These are essential extras to draw out the flavour. You will be surprised just how much they enhance this dish.

Please note, too, that this is not a wet sauce so do not panic. An extra drizzle of olive oil on the served dish will not hurt a bit if called for. The ‘dryness’ leaves a satisfying aftertaste.

Serves: 4


2 tablespoons olive oil

250g baby plum tomatoes

4 medium sized courgettes/zucchini, grated

4 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced lengthways

2 garlic cloves cut in slivers

12 mange tout/snow peas, finely sliced lengthways

2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed of salt and dried on kitchen paper

3 lemons, grated rind of 3 to garnish, juice of 2

500g fresh tuna

500g spaghettini (1 packet)

Oregano, to garnish

Parmesan to garnish, optional


Try to be as organized as possible by having all the vegetables chopped and ready to go and it does wonders for the stress levels if someone lends a hand to either cook the pasta and/or the tuna freeing you up to deal with the vegetables. It is important all three things come together at the same time. Do not forget to heat your plates in advance so put them in a low oven, now.

Place the water on to boil in readiness for the pasta to be cooked.

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat and gently cook the onions and garlic for a few minutes. The texture result you are looking for is for everything to be crunchy, not over cooked and not too soft. Add the tomatoes and cook a further two or three minutes - they must remain firm but be hot. Add the mange tout, courgettes and capers. Stir for a few minutes, season and add the lemon juice. Rev up the heat to reduce any excess liquid, remove from the heat and keep warm.

Add the pasta, two teaspoons salt and a few drops of olive oil to the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente. Strain, add a little more oil, stir through and keep hot.

Sear the tuna on both sides in a lightly greased frying pan for 2-3 minutes of both sides on high] heat. It must be rare in the middle and seared well on the outside. Remove from the heat, rest a minute or two and cut into bite size pieces.

To serve:

Place some pasta in each bowl, add the vegetables, the tuna and garnish with oregano and lemon rind and offer everyone those necessary condiments.

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