Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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RECIPE: Maritime Pasta Minus the Shellfish

Tonight I was in the mood for spaghetti and a light, summery sauce. And I was also nostalgic for my fixation on all things Provençal, which dominated my last year in California. So I improvised a dish that pleased me greatly. Be advised that, though there are substitutions I'll mention, the basic dish is spicy, strong, and sea creature-flavored, as befits a coastal Mediterranean concoction.

In order to get the effect, you'll need to have some basic pesto genovese on hand -- garlic, pine nuts, basil, parmesan, olive oil -- whether the self-made or store-bought sort.

Ingredients (easily procured from Trader Joe's):
1 can tuna in olive oil; 1 can anchovies in olive oil; 6 cloves garlic (I use the frozen Israeli garlic cubes from TJ's when I'm pressed for time, which is usually); 2 bell peppers; 2 jalapeño peppers; 2 sweet white onions; 2 zucchinis; 1 can diced tomatoes (or the equivalent in fresh ones, if you have flavorful ones from a garden); white wine; the pasta of your choice (I picked spaghetti).
1) If you are pressed for time, you can start the water for pasta at the same time you start the sauce. But it would be better if you made the sauce first and let it sit before making the pasta.
2) If you're not a fan of anchovy-based sauces, you can make the sauce with only tuna, perhaps adding a second can. At any rate, the anchovy taste will fade if you let the sauce sit for an hour before serving.
3) A pesto made with a mixture of other herbs would work too, though it would be nice to have some basil in it as well.
4) The parmesan cheese in the pesto gives body to the sauce, so don't leave it out if you are making the pesto the same day;
5) Although I say to use white wine in the sauce, a dry, vigorous red wine, such as wines with a good percentage of Sangiovese grapes, would be better to drink alongside this dish.
1) Peel the garlic and onions
2) Core the peppers
3) Slice onions and peppers into bite-sized pieces
4) Slice zucchinis into thin rounds
5) Heat a cast iron or non-stick pan
6) Put in the onions and peppers, letting them get char a bit on the bottom
7) Turn the heat on the pan to low and wait a minute
7) Put in the anchovies, with their oil and stir
8) Wait until the anchovies have fully broken up
9) Pour in enough white wine to deglaze the pan, plus a little extra
10) Stir periodically until about half the liquid has boiled off
11) Add the zucchini and garlic and stir
12) Wait one minute
13) Add the diced tomatoes and tuna and stir
14) Turn the heat up to medium for a couple minutes, stirring periodically, as you take care not to damage the zucchini rounds.
15) Lower the heat again
16) Add three tablespoons of pesto and stir
17) Remove the sauce from the heat as soon as the basil flecks are evenly distributed within it
18) If you have the time, cover the sauce and let it sit for an hour or so, then gently warm it up; otherwise, you can serve it straight.
Let me know what you think!

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