It seems that everyone has a fond (or not so fond) memory of a tuna “surprise” from their childhood. My version is a riff on a recipe I saw while watching Jacques Pepin on PBS. This is a really fluid recipe- substitute what you have on hand for a quick and easy mid-week meal
Here’s what you’ll need: (This is measured to feed two- so scale up if you have more to feed)
1/2 Fennel blub thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (Jacques used pine-nuts (a lot of them)- I am not on a pine nut budget)
1/4 a green bell pepper- thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic- minced
1 pinch of red-pepper flakes
1/2 pound orechette pasta (these are the little shelled shaped pasta)
Parmesan cheese for grating
parsley for garnish (if you’re feeling fancy)
1) Slice your onion into thin half moons while you preheat olive oil in a large skillet. Place a large pot of salted water on to boil for your pasta.
2)Add the onion-cook until translucent and add your walnuts. In the meantime start slicing your other vegetables.
3) Once the nuts have started to toast add the fennel, pepper and garlic. Flip the contents of the skillet so the nuts are on top and don’t burn. Cover and cook until the fennel is softened. In the meantime your pasta should be cooking.
4) Add your drained tuna to your skillet of vegetables. Add a ladle full of pasta water to help make the “sauce”.
5) Once the pasta is done- drain and add to your skillet. Mix and top with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.