This recipe is derived from an old Italian country cookbook that had some really authentic recipes. What I like is how easily this recipe can be put together mainly with store cupboard ingredients. As with many pasta recipes, using the pasta water is key in bringing the recipe together in the end.
Sicilian Style Tuna Pasta
Start off by boiling water for the pasta, and dropping the pasta into boiling water. Set timer.
Meanwhile, crush the garlic with the coarse salt in a pestle mortar and add finely chopped parsley to it. Blend well together. (The salt helps to breakdown the garlic to a paste). Alternatively, finely grate the garlic on a microplane and add finely chopped parsley.
Heat a frying pan (I like to use stainless steel one rather than a non-stick one so that you get the “fond” which adds a lot of flavour) with the olive oil, and add the garlic mixture and HALF the sliced onion. Add the chilli flakes and sauté until the onion starts looking golden (about 3-4min). Then mix in the tomato paste and anchovies. The tomato paste will begin to darken and start sticking to the bottom of the pan, which is what you want. At this point, add a little pasta water, from the boiling pasta, and scrape the pan to loosen all the bits. The mix will start looking like a sauce.
Add the drained tuna and black pepper and break it up to mix well.
As soon as the pasta is cooked (some pasta packets will indicate timing for al dente and well cooked, use the shorter time), take a small cup or jug and reserve a cup cooking water, before draining the pasta.
Put the drained pasta back on heat, add back about ½ cup of the cooking water, the sauce, the remaining onion, capers and olives. Stir everything well, so that the sauce comes together and coats the pasta well. It shouldn’t be dry, add some more cooking water if it is.
Serve hot. In Sicily they wouldn’t put any parmesan cheese on it, but you can always grate some on if you like!
If good tomatoes are in season, add some chopped cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes towards the end of the cooking process for the sauce for a nice dash of colour.