15 February 2012

AUNTIE PASTA: Sardinian Sapore

SARONNO, Italy – My cousin Joanne wrote to me a while back asking if I could convert the metric measurements in some of the recipes I post on the blog to American measurements. It’s a problem since I live in a place where everything is metric and I’ve never really had much faith in the conversion tables, so my suggestion to her was to buy a small, inexpensive food scale. 
Italian Tuna Fish
Believe me, living in a metric world has been difficult for me as well, and to this day I still don’t know how tall I am or how much I weigh, a small detail that seems to make Italian medical professionals a little suspicious of my mental capacity. I found it depressing that my dress size has gone from a perfectly acceptable 11 to a monstrous 48 and my bust line grew from a 34 to a whopping 86. It was the same with the lira, which took me forever to adjust to and just as I was getting the hang of thinking of 20,000 lira as pocket change, they went and converted our currency to euros. So I get it. I’m just not quite sure what to do about it.

I’ve tried to solve the problem by offering recipes that don’t need exact amounts, recipes that you can customize to your taste by adding a little more or a little less of an ingredient depending on what you have on hand. One of my favorite flexible recipes is pasta with tuna. This is an absolutely delicious thing to eat if, and it’s a big if, you use Italian tuna fish packed in olive oil. I know the trend in the U.S.A. is to use low fat, low salt, packed in water tuna, but unfortunately it has absolutely no taste. No, I take that back, it does have a taste, it tastes like cardboard, which is why you usually have to gop it up with mayo and other flavor enhancers.

The Real Deal
Today’s recipe calls for Malloreddus, (gnocchetti sardi)  a type of small pasta that originated in Sardinia. You can use any type of pasta you want, including spaghetti, but small, firm pasta, like Malloreddus, are really the best. If you don't mind paying a little more, buy Ventresca tuna. This tuna comes from the belly of the fish, it’s what sushi bars call toro. It has a creamy texture and a deep, buttery flavor and the less you do to it the better. This recipe also calls for pesto. If you have it on hand, great, use it, but it is not essential. What is essential is a top quality virgin olive oil, preferably from Liguria.  
This is an easy, no cook (except for the pasta) recipe that you can whip up in 10 minutes. 
Ingredients for 4 people
350 g of Malloreddus pasta (Sardinian gnocchetti)
200 g of tuna or ventresca packed in olive oil
 5  cherry tomatoes
 120 g of pesto
 Extra virgin olive oil  

Drain the tuna or ventresca and cut it into small pieces. Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half or in quarters, depending on how big they are. Put the tuna and the tomatoes in a large serving bowl and add three teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
Cook the pasta in boiling water. When cooked, but not overcooked – they should be al dente – drain them and add them to the tuna and tomatoes. Add two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and the pesto. Mix and serve immediately.

No comments:

Post a Comment