It’s dinner time, everyone is hungry and you just got home from work and haven’t really thought about dinner. You go the refrigerator, open the door and stare. Nothing looks interesting, not the vegetables, not the meat, not the eggs. You close the door. Pause and sigh. Then open it again, just hoping it will be different this time and you will get inspired. Nothing. You are afraid to look over at the hungry eyes staring at you, waiting for you to create a little dinner magic. You reach for the refrigerator door one more time. You stop, turn and reach for the pantry door instead.
As you open the panty door, inspiration hits you. It’s all there! Pasta, tomato sauce, olives, capers, canned tuna in olive oil! No worries family, I have this! It’s Pasta al Tonno for dinner tonight!
A well-stocked pantry has gotten me out of a pickle many times. With the pantry, you have greater options to take a typical meal and bump it up by adding a can of beans or switching out a smoky Mexican pepper for a spicy Indian pepper. Simple ingredient switches are meal game changers.
Pasta al Tonno is simply, canned Italian tuna fish in olive oil, garlicky marinara sauce, capers and black olives (regular black olives, Gaeta or Kalamata olives). A go to recipe when you are hungry and need a quick meal on the dinner table. No measuring needed. Use what you have in the pantry. Keep a jar of tomato basil sauce on hand and bump up the flavor by first adding olive oil to pan and sauté a few smashed garlic cloves until golden. Then add jarred sauce and finish with fresh basil or parsley.
On those days when you want something good to eat, a home cooked meal and dinner on the table quick, then add this to your Pantry Dinner Favorites!
My Mom and Dad would make this meal last minute and call us to come over. Add a side salad, garlic bread and a glass of wine and it becomes a meal you don’t want to end. Enjoy!
Pasta al Tonno with Quick Garlic & Basil Sauce
TIP – to make the sauce, use a shallow pan for quick cooking.
While making the sauce, start to boil the water to cook the pasta.
1 lb. Pasta of choice
2-4 peeled, smashed garlic cloves
1 29 oz. can of tomato purée
1/2 cup water
2 cans of Italian Style Tuna (light tuna is best) in olive oil – draining the
oil is optional – keeping it adds more flavor
1/4 cup pitted, halved black olives (black, Gaeta, Kalamata)
1 heaping teaspoon of capers
Salt and black pepper to taste – add more at the end of cooking *make it spicy add
red pepper flakes
3-5 Fresh Basil Leaves
Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and cook over medium heat
Add 29 oz. can of tomato purée and stir
Pour 1/2 cup water into the empty can of tomatoes and swirl around to get all
the tomato puree out of the can and add to the pan
Cook approximately 15 -20 minutes on medium high heat, until a light boil
Stir, cover and cook for another 15 -20 minutes over low heat. Stir occasionally. Add a little pasta water if the sauce gets to thick.
Meanwhile, your pasta water should be boiling, generously add salt, then add
pasta and cook according to the package directions.
Tip- for pasta, check at 2 minutes before timer goes off to see if you like the texture of the pasta. We like our pasta, al dente.
Drain pasta and serve with the Pasta al Tonno. Enjoy!
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