Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spaghetti with Artichokes and Tuna (Carciofi e Tonno)

You can choose to make this sauce with the flesh from leftover stuffed artichokes, or plain boiled artichokes, or artichoke flesh collected when in season and frozen; For more information about this, please see the previous post (or click here!)

Depending on whether you use plain or not will make a difference to the sauce.  I always add a bit of extra garlic, fresh garlic stems when in season.

This really is a sauce that you can adapt to whatever you fancy, but I'll give you the recipe of what I did this time, with some additional notes as I go along.  :)

I used leftover stuffed globe artichokes, which were simmered with plenty of fresh flat leaf parsley and fresh garlic (click this for a link to what i mean by fresh garlic).  If i had used plain simmered artichokes, I would have added a bunch more parsley and garlic.

First of all, if using frozen artichokes, defrost them (it shouldn't take too long if you made sure to flatten the bag out when placing it in the freezer - thanks mum for this fantastic hint!!)  If you've frozen some of the water used to cook these artichokes in, take about 1/2 a cup worth out too.

Place a large saucepan on the boil with a decent amount of salt (around a tablespoon if you're making pasta for 4).

Ingredients to serve 4
400grams dry spaghetti, linguini, or some other relatively thin long pasta.
200grams or so of cooked artichoke flesh/hearts, fresh or frozen.
a couple of cloves of garlic, or a couple of stems of fresh garlic. 
1 large tin of yellowfin tuna (pref in oil, but use in brine if you're trying to keep fat levels down)
Salt, pepper and good quality extra virgin olive oil.

**If you used plain artichokes, add the following:
A few more cloves/stems of garlic.
Plenty of fresh parsley

The sauce for this takes less than 10 minutes to cook, so if the pasta you're using takes about 8 minutes or more to cook, that's all the time you'll need.  My suggestion is to chop the garlic and have all the ingredients prepared before you actually throw the pasta in, to avoid having to wait for the sauce to cook, and ending up with over-cooked pasta (travesty!!)

Once you've thrown the pasta (time it for about 2 minutes less than the packet states), sauté a couple of cloves of garlic (or a couple of stems if using fresh) in  a tiny amount of olive oil on a low heat in a decent sized frypan (you'll be adding the pasta to this).  As soon as it's softened, add the artichoke flesh, and some of the artichoke water.  If you don't have any of this, don't worry, just add a ladle of the pasta water. 
This is actually taken from another recipe, but the base of this sauce is the same! 
Open up the tin of tuna, and drain the liquid.  Add tuna into the sauce. 

When the pasta is almost done but still has a crunch to it (about 2 minutes before suggested cooking time), drain, reserving about a mugful of the liquid.

Add this to the sauce in the pan, and add about half a mug of the liquid.  Keep stirring and tossing until the pasta absorbs some of the tasty, tasty liquid and is al dente.  Add more of the pasta water if necessary.  Turn off the heat, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Place into bowls and drizzle with some good quality extra virgin olive oil (if you're lucky enough to be in the Mediterranean, this means that you have access to new season olive oil at this time of year, well 2-3 months old, as November is the time for pressing.

Enjoy! :D

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