Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Hot or Cold Nicoise-Style Tuna Pasta

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I spent a much-needed relaxing afternoon today with my mother who, earlier, had made one of the recipes from the latest issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. We wound up having the Hot or Cold Nicoise-Style Tuna Pasta (on pg. 106) for dinner. The cold version, that is.

We're celebrating the Fourth of July here in the States this weekend, and this would be a great dish to bring to a barbeque or picnic get-together.  For one thing, it doesn't have any mayonnaise or anything creamy.  It's a little different than your usual pasta salad. It also makes a lot, as you can see from the photo below.  (This is half the recipe, and with some slight modifications by my mother. She arranged it on a platter, kind of like an antipasto, rather than a bowl of pasta salad.) 

(If you're not celebrating the Fourth or if your barbeque already happened, this is a great meal for those hot days of summer.)

Hot or Cold Nicoise-Style Tuna Pasta
from Every Day with Rachael Ray, August 2011, pg. 106

2 small yukon gold or red-skinned potatoes (my mom used red)
4 large organic eggs (my mom used two; I doubt they were organic)
a couple small handfuls thin green beans
1 lb. short-cut pasta, such as conchiglie (shells), penne, or farfelle (my mom used 1/2 box - maybe slightly less - of Wegmans small shell pasta)
about 1/4 cup EVOO
2 tsp. anchovy paste or 4 flat anchovy fillets (optional) (mom didn't use)
1 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup nicoise olives, chopped (mom used kalamata ... which probably doesn't make this a nicoise-style salad anymore, but whatever)
1 small fresno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (there's no way she would have included this)
1 large shallot, chopped or thinly sliced (mom used a small shallot)
2-3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1.5 tsp. dried herbes de provence (half a palmful) (mom didn't use this)
1 jar or can (12 oz.) tuna in water or oil (look for line-caught), drained and flaked (mom used the water kind)
a handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
a small handful fresh tarragon leaves, chopped, or basil leaves, torn

Step 1
Place the potatoes and eggs in a medium pot; cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil, then turn off the heat, cover tightly, and let stand for 10 minutes. remove the eggs (leave the potatoes in the water) and peel them under cold water. Cut into small cubes. Remove the potatoes and dice.

Step 2
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the green beans and parboil for 4-5 minutes, Strain out the beans, reserving the pot of water. Shock the beans in cold water, then cut into thirds.

Step 3
Return the reserved pot of water to a boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente (my mom didn't cook it till al dente, as we aren't fond of al dente pasta). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Step 4
While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Stir in the anchovy paste or fillets, if using. Add the tomatoes, wine, olives, chile pepper, shallot, garlic and herbes de provence; cover the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, uncovering the pan when the tomatoes start to crack, for about 10 minutes. Lightly crush them with a wooden spoon. Add the tuna, parsley and tarragon (or basil). Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water.

Step 5
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well.  Add the green beans, potatoes, and eggs.

Our verdict:  All three of us who had this really liked it and declared it a keeper, although we thought it needed a dressing of some kind.  (Which is why you see the two bottles of salad dressing pictured.) I added Ken's Light Balsamic to mine, while my mom and stepfather chose Ken's Golden Vidalia Onion. I sampled a taste of that and it was pretty good (although my preference would be for the balsamic). Every Day with Rachael Ray has this as serving 4, but even half was more than enough for the three of us.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Marg said...

Happy 4th of July to you. I do like the idea of this recipe being good either hot or cold! Very flexible.

Beth F said...

I love your notes on the ingredients. Made me smile this morning. :)

I agree that a dressing of some sort would be needed. I would probably go for the balsamic or a mustard vinaigrette.

Lynda said...

Happy 4th of July from Wales ;0)

Anonymous said...

This looks so yummy. And I love the way yuor mom served it.