Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pasta con Tonno e Peperoncini (Pasta with Tuna and Chili Peppers)

You might think I eat a lot of pasta, but it's not as bad as some people say it is. I only eat it once or twice a week, maybe three times, but in my mind, all the Italians should be absolutely huge if what people say about pasta is true. Think about it for a minute, Italians eat it all of the time, pretty much everyday. Why aren't they big, fat people on average? Because they cook it properly and they're active. They walk a lot and they play sports, mainly soccer. If you're an active person, the carbohydrates from the pasta are burnt off as fuel. You can't eat a lot of food, any food in general and sit on the couch waiting for them to just "go away." Eating the good carbs or complex carbs is very important as well, and if you eat a lot of bad carbs like white bread, processed foods such as hot dogs and luncheon meats, expect problems to arise with your health eventually. Pasta is on the bad or simple carbs list, but again, if you cook it al dente, you will be fine and your glycemic index will not spike. One way to help the carbs you ingest break down easier and slower is to add balsamic vinegar to your dish. I add a tablespoon to tomato sauce at the end of the cooking process and it also adds a touch of sweetness to the sauce. I'm not sure if it works if it is cooked like this, but another idea is to eat a small salad with a balsamic vinaigrette before you eat your smaller portion of pasta.

When I eat pasta, I try to add something to it which adds not only flavor, but other health benefits as well. Pasta is great for soaking up other flavors around it, so it is always a good vehicle when trying to get the most out of a certain ingredient you're cooking with. Pasta cooked in red wine is a good example of this.

This particular dish is one I have eaten at a small place here in town called La Viena. I love eating this as it's more about textures than flavors. Don't get me wrong, the aromas and tastes coming from this recipe are superb, but the different textures coming from the tuna, peperoncini and the pasta are worth the very little effort it takes to make it. Although I like it better with dried chili flakes, you can still use sliced peperoncini.

Ingredients

- 110g linguini
- 1 80g can of tuna packed in olive oil, drained, or just regular tuna packed in water
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp dried chili flakes or to taste
- EVOO
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Parmesan, grated
- a small handful a parsley, finely chopped

Directions

1) Start to cook pasta according to directions on the package.
2) Heat a frying pan over medium-low heat with a little EVOO. When ready, add garlic to flavor the oil.


Next, add the tuna and break it up slightly with a fork to spread it around the pan.
3) After two minutes, add the garlic, chili flakes, salt and pepper and stir to incorporate everything together.


4) Let cook until pasta is ready and add it to the pan. Keep a little of the pasta water and add it to the pan also.


Add the parsley, mix everything together,


grate a little Parmesan over the pasta and serve.
Yield: Serves 1

I may have forgot to add the parsley... oh well, too bad.

This is a quick and easy dish to serve when you're in a hurry. I only eat it once a month or so due to the tuna being in the dish and I try to limit my intake of it as it could cause issues if eaten too often because of the mercury content. It's too bad as I love to eat it. In the past few years I have backed off of it not only due to the mercury issues but it's also overfished and not considered sustainable.

Little O's Menu

Her horizons are broadening somewhat lately as she is starting to eat what we eat more consistently. We had some friends over this weekend and I made hummus and kopanisti to start with. We smoothed a little of the hummus over top of a few pieces of pita bread and she ate them. It's nice to see she is not shying away from it now as she used to eat it, but I think her tiny, supercharged tastebuds went AWOL on her when she was a little ill and stopped eating it. It's a little fatty but she's a little skinny so it evens out. The chickpeas give her the protein she needs if she isn't eating any meat, plus they give her a shot of fiber and some antioxidants. It seems like whatever I make nowadays she likes to at least taste it. She may not like it and will just let it fall off of her tongue onto the floor, but she gave it her best shot, and that's what counts.

Quote Of The Day:

"Is this chicken what I have, or is this fish? I know it's tuna, but it says 'Chicken of the Sea."
~ Jessica Simpson (1980-still alive... believe it or not) American sing..... ummm, American actr...... uuuhhh, just read the quote and you figure it out.

"I know it's tuna...." Yeah right. No you don't!


Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark

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