Great tasting tuna pasta. Click here to skip straight down to the recipe!
Channel Eye has joined forces with Caring Cooks and the Island Chef, aka Christian Gott, to bring you tasty low-cost recipes as part of the ‘Meal Mates‘ initiative.
Christian shares his recipe for great tasting tuna pasta and top tips for cooking pasta!
I started to write quite a simple post and it’s turned into a step-by-step how to cook the perfect pasta. The inspiration for this recipe is Rome. I’m really jealous as my eldest daughter is going there this summer and she gets to eat all of the amazing food. One of the classic Roman dishes is Cacio e pepe.
This dish is pretty much what the name means. Cacio e pepe translates as ‘cheese and pepper’, and this recipe highlights one of the key tenants of Italian cooking. Keep it simple and use quality ingredients. In this case spaghetti, pepper, parmesan, and butter. The recipe is believed to date back to hill shepherds moving from place to place with their herds. The ingredients keep well and can be cooked in one pan.
So, this got me thinking, what I can cook from the cupboard that’s tasty and filling and very easy for a mid-week meal? The secret to Cacio e pepe is melting the cheese with the hot pasta and a little reserved pasta cooking water, more of this later. I wanted to recreate this in my dish and add a little extra. In my kitchen pasta and pepper are store cupboard staples and so is tuna. Bingo a recipe idea.
I advise investing in a bottle of good quality olive oil. Its long lasting and great in pasta dishes and salads and adds a real depth of flavour, fruity and peppery. Try to find a piece of Parmesan not the pre-grated semi dried pasta cheese. It just won’t melt properly and have the same result. Fresh Parmesan adds tangy, salty, and umami flavours to the dish. I know Worcestershire sauce is not an authentic Italian ingredient, but it adds a bit of a kick and more umami flavour to the dish.
How to cook the perfect pasta – Top tips
There are a lot of myths about cooking pasta like throwing it at the wall to see if it is cooked. I don’t recommend that one! I’m going to give my top tips for cooking dried pasta. Fresh pasta is readily available in a lot of supermarkets now. But for convenience’s sake I think most of us have a pack of dried in the cupboard. Cooked correctly its absolutely delicious and ready in minutes. Just remember the following –
- You need a big (I mean big pan) of salted, rapidly boiling water. There needs to be room to stir the pasta regularly to prevent it sticking. Aim for three litres of water for every two hundred and fifty grams of pasta, and eighteen grams of salt (one tablespoon). This is the only way your pasta is is going to be seasoned and to develop its flavour.
- Cooking times. Check your pasta packing. Each variety and shape of pasta requires a different length of time. However, you should use these as a guide. I like to test my pasta a couple of minutes before the stated time on the packaging. An remember if you are adding your pasta to a sauce, it will keep cooking so take off the heat a little earlier.
- Thin noodle style pasta like linguine or spaghetti will cook quicker than denser shapes. I like my pasta ‘al dente’ which means firm to the tooth. This means it offers a little resistance when you bite through it. If you like your pasta softer cook a little longer. When you are happy drain the pasta. If you leave it in the hot water, it will continue to keep cooking. However, leave a little liquid in the pasta pan if you drain it completely it will start to stick together and go stodgy.
- Remember to reserve a cup full of the pasta cooking water for your sauce.
This recipe is costed for six servings. Total cost £8.32.
Price per serving £1.39 not including garlic bread. 500 gr Spaghetti £1.19, 2 tins Tuna £2.58, 100 gr Parmesan £2.00,100 ml Olive Oil £1.00, Parsley £0.70, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce £0.20, Zest of 1 Lemon £0.50 ( save the juice for pancakes and baking ), Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper £0.15.
‘Meal Mates: Cook, Share, Care’ from Caring Cooks is designed to connect local communities through the sharing of home-cooked meals and the provision of support for less fortunate families.
The campaign encourages families to cook a meal for another family or include another family in their meal preparations, thereby fostering stronger community bonds and reducing the home catering burden on others around them. The charity is joining forces with ‘An Island Chef’ to deliver this incredible project in an effort to see help brought to those that need it most.
Great tasting tuna pasta
- 480g spaghetti
- 2 tins tuna, drained
- 100g parmesan, finely grated
- 100ml good quality olive oil
- A handful of fresh parsley, washed and chopped
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Zest of 1 Lemon (save the juice for pancakes and baking)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Boil a salted pot of water for your pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- In a large bowl flake the tuna and add the parmesan, lemon zest, parsley, and plenty of black pepper.
- Once the pasta is done, add a generous splash of the pasta water (a couple tablespoons) to the tuna mix and follow immediately with the spaghetti. Stir quickly.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and the oil, stir again and check the seasoning. You probably won’t need the salt.
- Serve with a little extra chopped parsley.