Tuna Casserole Pasta Salad

September 13, 2015

Tuna Casserole Pasta Salad - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

 

Margaux says…

I know, I know…why am I posting about something boring like tuna pasta salad? Where’s the cake? Cookies? Cupcakes? It’s end of summer harvest…where are the tomatoes? Zucchini? Sweet corn? Well, sometimes I have nothing in the pantry but a couple of cans of tuna, some pasta, some frozen peas and some parsley.  When I desperately need to go grocery shopping, it’s likely that I have those things. So I make this tuna pasta salad, a recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated 30-minute suppers magazine that I’ve vowed to post all of my favorite recipes from.

And this is not your normal tuna pasta salad. It’s not mayonnaise-y or sweet. It has great flavor and a little bit of a bite from the lemon, garlic and Dijon mustard. I like to serve it on a bed of arugula, and if I have them on hand, with a handful of cherry tomatoes thrown in, too. The original recipe calls for toasted breadcrumbs on top, which I don’t love the texture of, but I’ll include the steps to that for those of you who would like it!

Tuna Casserole Pasta Salad

adapted from 30-Minute Suppers from America’s Test Kitchen, Fall 2010 edition

2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into pieces (optional)

1/2 cup olive oil (plus 1 tbsp if doing bread crumbs)

3 tbsp juice from one lemon

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 (6-oz) cans tuna packed in water, drained and flaked into large chunks (I like the “chunk light” tuna)

1 pound small shells

2 cups frozen peas

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. If doing bread crumbs, pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about 6 pulses. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

2. Whisk lemon juice, mustard, garlic, Worcestershire, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper together in large bowl. Slowly whisk in remaining oil. Gently toss tuna with 1/4 cup dressing in separate bowl.

3. Meanwhile, add shells and 1 tbsp salt to boiling water and cook until almost al dente. Add peas to pot and cook additional 1 minute. Drain pasta and peas and rinse with cold water. Add pasta, peas and parsley to bowl with remaining dressing and toss to coat. Gently fold in tuna and season with salt and pepper. Serve, topping each portion with bread crumbs.

Serve over a bed of arugula, or by itself with a green salad on the side.

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Aunt Suzy says

Another great no-cook recipe to beat the heat!  Salon.com has a recipe contest every week called Kitchen Challenge.  Two weeks ago the theme was “your tastiest raw tomato dishes” and this recipe was chosen as the best.  It caught my eye because it used many of my favorite ingredients all put into a sandwich – and it comes with a great story!   This is the second time we’ve made it – and we might make it again this summer as long as the tomatoes are so delicious.   This is one of those recipes that you can add or subtract the ingredients you use to your taste.  For example, we did not use the hard-boiled egg and we added sliced Hungarian peppers to give it a little zing.

I know that many people are growing and buying heirloom varieties (which I love), but I must say a classic red, round homegrown tomato will be the ticket for this recipe.  We served it with both a Spanish Rose wine (last time) and yesterday with a white Cotes du Rhone.

Sliced ripe tomato

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Italian tuna packed in olive oil

Cooked cannellini beans

Green or black olives (or a combo), sliced in half

Thinly sliced red onion

Fresh mint and basil leaves

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Crusty sourdough or ciabatta (rolls or loaf)

Slice the bread in half and toast to desired doneness.  Sprinkle each side with a little olive oil.  Put all or some of the ingredients on the bread in any order that you want.  Dig in!!

Here’s a pic of my sandwich using a sourdough roll from Trader Joe’s.

And below is a photo of Randy’s sandwich on ciabatta.  We agreed that we liked the ciabatta better, but both were good.

Aunt Suzy says

I love this tapas recipe from Food and Wine a couple of years ago.  I make it regularly in the summer especially during tomato season.   I had fun cooking this with Margaux’s Mom, Kathleen, this week.  We also made a Moroccan carrot and mint salad from Smitten Kitchen and a green salad.   (It was delicious and we agreed that we would put more mint than called for in this recipe.)

The tuna is on the right and you’ll notice a glass of French Rose wine, which is the perfect pairing for this meal.

1 red bell pepper, roasted OR

1-2 portions from a jar of Roasted Red Peppers

3 tablespoons pine nuts

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

1 medium white onion, diced

 2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 8-oz can or 2 5-oz cans tuna packed in olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 Cut the pepper into ½ -inch pieces.  Toast the pine nuts in a skillet until golden brown and fragrant, being careful not to burn. Set aside.  Sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the peppers and tomatoes and cook about 3 more minutes until the tomato is softened.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

 After the vegetable mixture is cooled to room temperature, add the tuna and stir until mixed.  Add the pine nuts and toss until combined.  Serve with baguette.

 

Margaux Says…
This is a recipe that was given to me by Aunt Suzy years ago in one of my “dinner in a box” gifts. We love it so much that its become a staple in our household! Its very cheap, and I usually make it when its about time to go shopping because we almost always have the ingredients on hand. It also takes only about 30 minutes to make.

Aunt Suzy says . . .
I’m not sure where I got this recipe – Cook’s Illustrated perhaps – but it is a winner in many ways. Not only is in inexpensive and made from things you’re likely to have on hand, but the fact that you can throw this together in about 30 minutes is great! I usually make it when I’m at my wit’s end about what to cook on a weeknight. I almost always make this with whole wheat fusilli/pasta spirals and tuna from Italy packed in olive oil (available at Trader Joe’s). Enjoy!

Pasta and Garlic-Lemon Tuna Sauce with Capers and Parsley

Heat in skillet:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I make this a heaping 1/2 tsp)
3 Tbsp capers
Over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes until sizzling but not browned.

Add:
1/2 cup dry white wine
Bring to simmer and simmer until there is no trace of alcohol-about a minute.

Add:
2 cans drained tuna
2 tsp salt (I only add 1 tsp salt)
Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring, until tuna is heated through.

Meanwhile, Cook:
1 lb. pasta pieces, like fusilli or rigatoni, al dente.
Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

Toss:
Tuna, pasta, pasta water PLUS
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 Tbsp butter

Serve immediately, with a crisp Italian white wine and a green salad.

Margaux’s version:

Suzy’s version: