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This post was created in partnership with Opies. Sometimes, dinner does not have to be all singing and dancing. Sometimes I just want to make a speedy store-cupboard supper out of ingredients I pretty much always have to hand. At the moment, I’m making tuna pasta. A nice, hot tuna pasta in tomato sauce with three special ingredients that turn this everyday, cheap and simple meal from something basic to something a little bit special.
As I mentioned when I teamed up with Opies to bring you this quick and delicious Easy Chicken Paprikash recipe (with a difference!) most of us make the same things for dinner night after night, but do sometimes fancy a change. This is why this pasta is the best of both worlds, as it is comforting and familiar, as well as still being a little bit special also! I like to think that it is one of those perfect back pocket recipes for when all else fails.
The first secret ingredient that makes this dish a little bit more special is not so secret, because those of you who have cooked a lot of my recipes – especially the pasta dishes – will recognise them as one of my hero ingredients: capers. They’re little salty, briny, delicious flavour bombs, and throwing some into the sauce even just to warm through add little bursts of flavour to each mouthful. Find the Opies jar with the pickles (or sometimes with the ‘cooks ingredients’) in Morrisons, Waitrose and on Ocado, and once you’ve made this pasta get used to adding them to any Italian-style dish where lots of tomatoes or lemon is called for for a real flavour boost. My egg, tuna and sometimes potato salads are all the better for them, and finely chopped they’re they secret ingredient in my 5 Minute Skinny Smoked Mackerel Pate.
The next ingredient is something rather unexpected: Cocktail Onions. Yes because I’m one of those pickle addicts I usually just eat them straight out of the jar with pate and cured meats, but fried off in a little oil until mellow, and slightly golden and caramelised they add a little je ne sais quoi in pasta sauces that you can’t really put your finger on, but really adds depth and dimension to the dish. Again, you can find them where you’d usually find all the jars of pickles and preserves at the supermarket; they’re stocked pretty much everywhere including Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and on Ocado.
The third ingredient, that really makes sense if you think about it because it is made from anchovies is a dash of Worcestershire Sauce right at the end. Working together with the caramelised cocktail onions, it really adds a little flavour boost that makes the dish.
An easy weeknight tuna and tomato pasta recipe that is ready in under 30 minutes made entirely from store-cupboard ingredients!
200g (7 oz) penne pasta
generous splash light oil
40g (1 1/2 oz) Opies cocktail onions
1 large garlic clove
40g (1 1/2 oz) Opies capers
250ml (8 3/4 fl oz) passata
1 x 145g (5 oz) tinned tuna in brine
freshly ground black pepper
2 dashed Worcestershire sauce
Cook the pasta in a pan of salted water until just tender, as per the packets instructions. I find it is ready around 18 minutes. Reserve a little of the cooking water while draining.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce heat a generous splash oil in a large frying pan set over a medium heat. Drain and quarter the cocktail onions before adding them to the pan. Gently fry for about 5 minutes until they’re soft and starting to turn golden and slightly caramlised.
Peel and finely slice the garlic clove. Add it to the pan and cook for a further minute until aromatic, before adding the capers, and cooking for a minute more.
Stir the passata into the pan, heating until just bubbling, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Drain the tuna and stir it into the sauce.
Add the drained pasta, again stirring into the sauce, adding a little of the cooking sauce if need by to loosen the sauce and help it cling to the pasta shapes.
Season to taste before removing from the heat and dividing between two warm bowls.
This dish both doubles and triples beautifully to feed a family, just use bigger pots and pans!
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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One Pan Pescatarian: 100 Delicious Dinners – Veggie, Vegan, Fish
My second cookbook contains 100 delicious dinner recipes, all of which are either vegetarian, vegan or which celebrate fish and seafood - all cooked in either one pot or one pan.*