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Time for tonno

Sometimes, life can feel like eating soup with a fork.

So, to keep life simple, this week we’re going for another easy (but extremely satisfying) dish: spaghetti al tonno (literally ‘spaghetti with tuna’).

This is a perfect midweek meal as you'll find the vast majority of ingredients already in your kitchen cupboard.

This week’s album: 
Bleeds by Roots Manuva

Rodney Smith, aka Roots Manuva, has been described as ‘one of the most influential artists in British music history’. This is his sixth album, and most recent, that came 20 years after the release of his first EP. It has a much deeper, calmer and emotional feel compared to his earlier work. Tracks ‘Don’t Breathe Out’ and ‘Fighting For?’ are particular favourites.

Simply Sicilian

Spaghetti al tonno is a classic Sicilian dish that’s now eaten throughout Italy due to the simplicity and availability of its ingredients.

There are plenty of variations of this dish, but our’s focuses on some staple Sicilian flavours (side note: I first tried this dish when a Sicilian lad made it as staff lunch and it’s his recipe we’re going from). We're gonna marry tuna with capers, olives, chilli and tomato.

Until I tried this dish, tinned tuna used to be one of the very few things I wouldn’t eat. My view was always: why have tinned when fresh tuna is so delicious?

However, this dish converted me and since then I’ve started to appreciate how good the tinned stuff can be.

Like with all ingredients, getting the best tuna you can afford makes a big difference. I would highly recommend the brand Ortiz.

Can’t find it? Look for tuna in olive oil and, wherever possible, line or rod-caught tuna as it’s the most sustainable fishing technique.
What you need

The below serves 2. It takes 5 mins to prep and 20 mins to cook.

3 tbsps olive oil
½ onion
(finely sliced)
2 garlic cloves (finely grated/chopped)
½ tsp chilli flakes
200ml tomato passata
2 tbsps capers
(or sliced caper berries)
2 tbsps olives (stones removed)
160g tinned tuna (drained)
200-220g spaghetti
¼ lemon
(juice only)
10g parsley leaves (roughly chopped)
Sea salt & black pepper

Ready, steady, cook

1. Place a pan of salted water onto a high heat and bring to the boil.

2. While the water boils we’ll make the sauce… Put a saucepan on a medium heat and add the sliced onion along with a good pinch of salt. Cook gently over a medium-low heat, without colouring, for 6-8 mins (or until the onion is completely cooked and has softened).

Add in the finely grated/chopped garlic and cook for a further 2 mins. Stir regularly so the garlic doesn’t burn.

3. Add the chilli flakes and some freshly ground black pepper, followed by the tomato passata. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low while we cook the pasta.

4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and set a timer for 2 mins less than the packet suggests for ‘al dente’.

5. While the pasta cooks, add the capers and olives to the sauce. Stir through.

6. Just before the timer goes off for the pasta, add the tuna (in chunks) to the sauce. Be careful not to break the tuna up too much.

7. Using tongs, transfer the pasta into the sauce and turn up the heat. Stir the pasta through, or toss the pan and leave to cook for a further two mins. Add a little extra pasta-cooking water as you go until your sauce gets a velvety consistency.

8. Pop in the chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir through gently, transfer to warmed plates, and drizzle of some extra olive oil. Feast.

Final thought

You could make this recipe with fresh tuna (or other fresh fish) but I’ll save that for another time as this week is all about convenience.

Same time next week.


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Eat My Words · Kew Gardens · Kew, TW9 · United Kingdom

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