Monday, September 8, 2008

Easy Tuna Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

aglio olio
"Aglio e olio" means "garlic and oil" in Italian, and it is my favourite pasta "sauce". I find Italian restaurants in my area seem to feature a lot of tomato and cream based sauces, and their aglio e olio dishes are usually plain without much meat (not suitable for a carnivore like me). 

This recipe is adapted from the very first pasta I used to make during my Uni years. It is really simple to prepare, and I'd recommend it for days when you feel a little lazy or don't have much time to cook. For those people who don't like preparing something elaborate just for themselves or for two people, this is also the perfect dish. You can also make it all in just one pot (less washing up)!

When I started making tuna pasta in Uni, I used to buy cans of flavoured tuna (John West sundried tomato tuna was the best) and mix it with spaghetti. As I only had a microwave and kettle to use at the time, I couldn't do much more. Since then, the recipe has become a little more complex than just opening a can of tuna and adding it in, but essentially, that's all there is to it...

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Here's how to make it:

Easy Tuna Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
(Serves 2)

250g thin spaghetti
1 whole bulb garlic, chopped
2 cans tuna (tuna in oil works best, but try to find tuna in olive oil, or else go for tuna in springwater)
light olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
rocket or spinach leaves (optional)
  1. Cook the spaghetti in salted water according to the cooking time on the packet, less one minute. When ready, cool under running tap water, drain and set aside.
  2. Chop garlic. In a large pot (you can use the same one you boiled the spaghetti in), heat up around 3 Tbsp of olive oil on low heat. 
  3. Add the garlic, and fry gently until the garlic is fragrant and just turning a light golden colour (be careful not to burn it). If you like your pasta a little spicy, shake some red pepper flakes into the oil as well. 
  4. Turn up the heat to medium and add the spaghetti. Fry the spaghetti with the garlic oil, then add the tuna. Mix well. Turn the heat down to low. 
  5. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and more red pepper flakes, to taste. Stir in some washed rocket or spinach leaves at the end, if desired. Serve immediately.
Tip:
For even more spice, stir a few drops of chilli oil into the pasta before you eat it. This may sound odd, but it really tastes good. It's like adding tabasco sauce into pasta (without the sour vinegar taste of tabasco).

Update: Another variation to this recipe - Add a squirt (around 1 Tbsp) of tomato paste into the spaghetti during Step 4 and mix well. You don't want to add too much, as the addition of the tomato is only for a hint of added flavour, and not for turning the dish into a tomato-based pasta.

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