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Penne with Italian Tuna, Roasted Tomatoes, and Artichoke Hearts

February 6, 2007

Penne with Tuna, Tomatoes, and Artichoke Hearts

One thing I have always had a weakness for is canned tuna. I grew up eating it in macaroni and cheese, and to this day making boxed mac and cheese without tuna just doesn’t seem right. When I saw a can of imported Italian Tonno (or, yeah, tuna), and almost that same day happened upon a recipe for a basic pasta dish involving said Italian tuna, I had to try it out. Of course, I tweaked it a little because I had a bunch of other stuff in the refrigerator I wanted to use, and because I’m almost never content to do just what the cookbook tells me.

All in all, this only took about 20 minutes to make, so it’s a good week night dinner. I would probably use a little more pasta next time, though, to balance out the tuna. I usually only cook about 3/4 of a cup of pasta per serving, which often is more than enough. This time, though, I should have thrown in a little more.

The Italian tuna really is slightly different from the Chicken of the Sea or Bumblebee or whatever crap I usually buy. Maybe that’s because it’s packed in oil, and I never buy tuna packed in oil. Or maybe it’s actually the tuna itself. It seemed a little more buttery, or salty. I can’t really find any Tonna vs. Tuna references, so if any of you have a clue, let me know.

Penne with Italian Tuna, Roasted Tomatoes, and Artichoke Hearts

  • 2 1/2 c. penne (I used whole wheat)
  • about 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of Italian tuna, in oil
  • 3 artichoke hearts, quartered (I used Italian imported artichoke hearts in brine, NOT marinated in oil artichoke hearts)
  • 1/2 T. capers
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450F, and set a pot of salted water on to boil.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the halved grape tomatoes with olive oil and minced garlic, and roast for 15 minutes, until they get nice and shriveled, and a little browned at the edge.

Tomatoes and Garlic, fraternizing

While the tomatoes are roasting, cook the penne until it’s al dente. Ideally, the pasta and tomatoes should finish up at the same time. Reserve about 1/4 c. of the pasta water, and drain the pasta. In the same pot used to cook it, mix the tuna, roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and capers, until its warm through, then return the penne to the mix and stir it all together. Add some of the pasta water to make it a bit more saucy.

Pasta close up

Salt and pepper to taste, grate on a bit of parmesan, and you’re done. You might could add some crushed red peppers if you were feeling up to it, but the flavors of the tuna and artichoke hearts and tomatoes don’t really need a lot of dressing up.

The original recipe I read called for parsley, green onions, and sun-dried tomatoes, along with the roasted tomatoes, so it would certainly have been a different dish. Another thing I contemplated was topping it off with toasted bread crumbs, which I keep reading in pasta recipes, but have yet to try. I’m sure I will experiment with variations on this in the future, because I quite liked it and it was quick and easy. If one of the variations doesn’t turn out so well, at least I won’t have spent an hour on it or anything.

One last shot of tuna pasta messiness:

Messy tuna goodness

I will say that this tasted better than it looked.

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