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February 24, 2010
One of the big differences between living and cooking in little Westbrook, CT and big New York City is how easy -- or hard -- it is to run out and get stuff at the market. Forget a quart of milk in New York and you can walk to the corner, buy it and be home in 6 minutes -- if you stop and talk to your neighbor. In Connecticut? It's 30 minutes round-trip -- but only if you get what you need at the nearest gas station.
For a person who's not always so organized, Connecticut, as dear to my heart as it is, can be a challenge, which is why this dish is such a go-to when we're there and lazy or snowed in or both.
I created this recipe for my 1-2-3 Eats! column in Parade, from a dish I'd been making -- and playing around with -- forever. This is the pared down version, made with staples that I've always got in the cupboard. Of course, depending on your larder or what you've got in the fridge, you can change the dish around alot.
I always keep pasta sauce in the kitchen, but you could certainly use crushed or diced tomatoes (I like the ones in tomato puree). If you've got fresh tomatoes, you can whirl a few of them around in a blender or processor and toss them with the pasta -- if they're not very saucy, use a little more olive oil.
Fresh herbs are a great addition as is grated-at-the-last-minute lemon or orange zest.
And, of course, you can swap canned salmon or sardines for the tuna. You can also skip the fish or sbustitute cooked shredded chicken or some diced tofu.
Finally, while I like serving an arugula salad (dressed with olive oil, fresh lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar) with this dish, I prefer to serve the salad on top of the dish. Do that, and you'll still have a one-pot meal.
ONE POT SPAGHETTI DINNER
Makes 4 servings
1/2 pound spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups pasta sauce
6 pitted olives, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
One 5-oz. can tuna, drained
Salt and red pepper flakes
Cook the pasta following package directions. Drain, keep aside, and put the pot back on the stove over low heat.
Add the oil and onion and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the sauce, olives and capers and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, to heat through, then flake the tuna and add it to the sauce. Cook 1 minute more.
Add the spaghetti to the pot and stir it around to reheat it and coat it evenly with sauce. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes and serve immediately.
Tags: canned tuna
Rebecca @ InsideCuisine.com
| February 24, 2010 9:21 AM
We all need these store cupboard dishes Dorie. Marvellous idea to pop the salad on top, which I fully intend to do next time I make my contemporary incantation of spaghetti and salad.
Definitely not snowed in here in Sydney Australia but the dish will work just as well in our summer!
with thanks @frombecca
| February 24, 2010 10:18 AM
Why were you in Connecticut?? Haha yeah that kind of place would be drastically different than NYC where everything is within walking distance. Sort of makes you appreciate everything that we have so convenient doesn't it??
| February 24, 2010 5:25 PM
so simple and flavorful. what i love most about one pot dishes!
| February 24, 2010 9:17 PM
I love that you're in Westbrook!! I'm in Groton.. its a little surreal that your less than a half hour away from me. Can't wait to try your recipe!
| February 24, 2010 9:50 PM
I made this very dish sans the olives in the kitchen of our rented house in St. John last week. I foolishly thought I'd be grilling fresh fish bought from one of the many fisherman I'd find along the roadside but I was sadly mistaken. Canned tuna, dried pasta, canned tomatoes, capers, etc. were all available in the market albeit at a premium even compared to NY prices. A completely satisfying week night supper in any climate!
| February 24, 2010 10:40 PM
TUNA? I would never have thought of that! Great idea! I'm trying it the next time I need a quick dish!
Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks
| February 25, 2010 12:15 AM
Thanks for the reminder on restocking my pasta reserves. I make a similar dish with sardines and a good dose of red pepper flakes and fresh garlic.
| February 25, 2010 9:20 AM
looks very inviting your pasta!
heather @ chiknpastry
| February 25, 2010 10:21 AM
You are so right - we all need a good stand-by recipe for the times when getting to the grocery store is not in the cards. I feel that way often, even in Chicago, and i live a couple of minutes from two different convenience stores!
Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf
| February 25, 2010 6:46 PM
oh this is fabulous. even though i live in switzerland, you all in nyc and ct are getting more snow than us here ! but even if not lazy nor snowed in, this is great for zÃ¼rich, far from the city that never sleeps. stores are just not open at all hours of the day and you need to be quite organized, prepared - or just have a deliciously stocked pantry, and a big pot to make this pasta. perfect !! :) enjoy the snow you're getting over there, the city must be beautiful (before it gets messy) !
| February 26, 2010 12:55 AM
This sounds so delicious! No snowy nights here in the bay area, but we sure do have some rainy ones where you don't feel like leaving the house. And, I like that you only use one pot - making he clean up easier.
| February 26, 2010 5:34 PM
i am snowed-in in connecticut right now and making lentil soup. but this sounds delicious, and i have all the ingredients on hand. perfect for tomorrow, when, in all likelihood, i will still be snowed in. thank you!
Katie @ Cozydelicious
| February 27, 2010 9:41 AM
The arugula salad on top sounds wonderful! I'm going to have to try that next time. I make a version of this (with some white beans added) whenever I'm feeling too lazy for the grocery store. Amazingly enough, while everyone south of us gets covered in white stuff, here in Boston there has been almost no snow! So this year I can't blame anything but laziness.
| February 28, 2010 12:00 AM
That looks absolutely comforting. I make Brik A'louef with the same ingredients..well, no pasta.
Brilliant..and I hope the snow lets up for you!
| February 28, 2010 4:27 PM
Now if only I could keep arugula and fresh greens in my pantry...oh well I can dream can't I? No snow up the road from you here in Stonington, but plenty of "lazy-Sunday-don't-want-to get-out" days!
| March 2, 2010 10:54 AM
I live in the country and know too well the "30 minute" run to the store for milk.
That dish looks amazing!
| March 2, 2010 2:39 PM
I love your 123-eats,I clip them and try them as the time allows.Since I work at a grocery store,I always have ingredients available(when it snows I'm the one thats working). this is a great quick meal.thanks and keep the great recipies comming!
| March 4, 2010 7:42 AM
I am obsessed with spaghetti and always looking for new and exciting recipes - this is getting made soon!
| March 5, 2010 7:08 PM
I've done something similar with tuna when thinking about waist friendly dishes...but Andrea's mention of doing something similar with sardines intrigues me. I'm always looking for more ways of working sardines into my diet as a good source of Omega 3's and a long list of other nutritional benefits. But sardines and spaghetti... yes, I'll have to try it! Thanks Dorie and Andrea!
| March 10, 2010 10:52 AM
You inspired me last night to make pasta with what I had on hand. 1/2 chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper, a hand full of marinated artichokes, about tablespoon of capers, a sprig of fresh basil from the garden, a can of diced tomatoes and a jar of sauce. It was so good!
Thank you Dorie!
| March 11, 2010 12:36 AM
I have done something similar minus the tuna. I never thought about adding tuna into the mix, but I think I will give it a try. I love dishes just like this one. Pulling a meal out of the pantry like this is so much better than nuking a dreaded frozen dinner. Thank you for the inspiration.
| March 12, 2010 8:41 AM
Hi Dorie: I love using canned tuna with pasta sauce and the capers really make it especially good. We have to get you a pressure cooker for CT so you can make a lentil soup in 10 minutes with ingredients on hand. Also wanted to let you know that I figured out a way to make cut pasta with a tomato/meat sauce all at once in the pressure cooker in 5 minutes. The pasta absorbs the sauce as it cooks and it comes out tasting like baked ziti (well, sort of...) Happy cooking! Lorna
| March 13, 2010 3:50 PM
That looks delicious! I'm excited to try it. As a vegetarian, I'd omit the tuna, but I think Field Roast or some kind of soy product could substitute just fine.
| March 18, 2010 10:39 PM
My grandma always used to make spaghetti. It brings back such great memories!
| March 22, 2010 10:06 PM
Hello Dorie -- Nice post. Your pasta is one of our favorite dishes for evenings where there is nothing in the house to eat. Our formula also calls for grated lemon rind and chopped parsley, not that we always have both. I don't buy someone else's sauce, but I do keep canned tomoatoes next to the jar of Italian tuna. Our other favorite no-fuss meal is tofu with peanut butter sauce -- before you say yuck, think satay sauce. Keeps us healthy and wise, and though not wealthy, not poor either.
| April 8, 2010 11:09 AM
Hi Dorie...this recipe sounds delish. Maybe you'd be interested in a similar dish we always called chili-spaghetti in my famly. It's a meatless "Yankee Chili" (not Texas-style). I make it in my big iron skillet with canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, green or red peppers, black olives, chili powder and cumin. After simmering for about 1/2 hour, I add a can of kidney beans and broken-up spaghetti and cook another 10 mins or until the pasta is tender, then top it with grated Monterrey Jack cheese and broil until slightly brown. I know this one is off-subject but just thought you might find it easy and fun in a pinch, too.
| April 12, 2010 6:21 PM
Here on sunny Vancouver Island, we all love this dish and its myriad variations. It is so Italian yet still so simple! And the flavours of the olives and capers really stand out too!
| April 23, 2010 1:06 AM
This is amazing thanks for the lovely recipe, taste wonderful and all the herbs.
| October 29, 2010 1:15 PM
Delish! This was absolutely perfect for a quick and easy dinner tonight - I spent the whole day making the most gorgeous soups, and had no energy left to cook dinner! This was fast, filling, inexpensive (about a euro per serving), a nice balance of flavors and textures, and really nutritious. I had whole wheat spaghetti on hand and added in a couple of fresh tomatoes that were threatening to spoil on my counter. The tuna and capers added a really nice pungency to the sauce that more grown-up palates can appreciate, but was not offensive to my toddler. Both of my girls (ages 2 and 6, and very picky) scarfed it down and asked for seconds - this recipe is a keeper for sure!
| November 17, 2010 10:13 PM
I had spaghetti tonight for dinner but it was the traditional plain-jane. I'm going to try this recipe minus the olives. Thanks for sharing.
| December 19, 2010 6:44 AM
a nice dish. I used the olive oil from my canned Italian tuna. to cook the sauce in. I and the partner loved the salad on top concept. I can see it has other possibilities.
Thanks for what you do.
Hugh in Dallas
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