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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tuna Piperade tossed with Lumaconi Rigati

I know I tend to downplay the typical French palate and its ability to handle heat or spice.  If I never changed my mind, I wouldn't be an intelligent human being.  The Basque region in the south west of France is the home of the most protected chile pepper I've ever encountered, the Piment d'Espelette.  This chile is completely French and has an incredible marketing agent.  Little by little, spice and heat is becoming more acceptable to the average French person.  They might not want to taste it, but they will not turn their noses up to you eating it at their table.  The Basque region has a variety of dishes that include some form of spice or heat.  Poulet Basquaise is one of them, and Piperade is another.  I'm not going to claim that my Piperade recipe is the authentic one.. first of all because I didn't really realize I was making a piperade until I was trying to find a good name for my excellent pasta dish that came out of some hidden part of my brain at a certain moment of the week.  Second of all, because Piperade is usually a side dish to some grilled meat or in an omlet, not as pasta sauce with an egg yolk on top.
Either way, I was happy to realize that my creation was very plausibly French despite all the heat that went into it.  That's enough to make me smile..
Serves 5-6
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, grated
1 bell pepper, diced
1-2 red chiles, diced
1 can tuna, drained
1 can tomato pulp + 1 can water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp cracked black pepper
salt to taste
500g (1 lb) package of lumaconi rigati pasta, cooked al dente
1 egg yolk per plate
red pepper flakes
extra cracked black pepper
1.  Heat the olive oil in a wok or heavy based pan.  Add in the onions and cook until translucent with a pinch of salt.
2.  Add in the garlic, bell pepper, and red chiles.  Love it.  Stir fry for a few minutes.
3.  Add the dried basil and tomato pulp with the can of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
4.  Add the tuna and lots of black pepper.  Stir in, taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed.
5.  Toss with the al dente lumaconi rigati over medium heat.  You want it to be nice and piping hot.  There should be enough sauce in there to coat each one of those little crevices, but just in case, reserve a bit of the pasta water if you need to thin out the sauce.

Serve ladled in bowls with an egg yolk and sprinkle with grated parmesan and red pepper flakes for the extra topical spice.
The egg yolk with make the sauce nice and rich when you stir it in your plate.
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