Almost Tuna Puttanesca

This may sound odd, but an advertisement in the ladies’ locker room of my gym inspired me to make this recipe.  I was changing into workout gear, looked up and saw a most tempting picture of Tuna Puttanesca.  Perfect timing too, it was about 5:30 pm, I had an hour workout ahead of me and was already thinking about how quickly I could make dinner once I got home, without having to stop at the grocery store.

Enter the classic Italian dish named after whores, Spaghetti Puttanesca.  I guess there is more than one way they can save the day. It’s a mix of salty, spicy, and LOTS of crisp garlic.  Instead of the traditional anchovies, which due to a high school job at a pizza parlor I will never be able to eat, the locker room advertisement used canned tuna, cheaper and less traumatic.  I call this recipe “almost” puttanesca because we were lacking 1 ingredient which would have added a surprise saltiness to the canned tuna, kalamata olives; I didn’t want to go to the grocery for only 1 ingredient (though this happens quite often).

Printable PDF: Tuna Puttanesca


Start with 1/2 package of Kamut Noodles (7 ounces).  Kamut has a much nuttier flavor than regular wheat noodles.  If you can’t find them, go with whole wheat noodles for health reasons; this is a recipe from the wall of the gym.Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add in 1/2 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes.  Turn the heat to low and slowly infuse the oil with a spicy kick.Add in the minced, fresh garlic.  That would be 6-8 cloves.  I promise it’s not so much that your pores will reek garlic odor for several days, but once it starts to cook (over low heat, remember garlic burns easily) your entire house will aromatize.  It’s delicious!Take a handful of fresh asparagus.  Run your knife to slice them into small circles and add them to the pan. Pour in 1/4 cup of chicken broth (Oh I wish I had some dry white wine, but remember how I didn’t want to go to the grocery store?).  Also add the spices dried marjoram and dried parsley (It’s OK to substitute other spices, but limit it to 2-3, and try to stick to green, earthy tasting ones like oregano, thyme, basil, etc.)Drain 2 cans of water-packed tuna (not on a diet?  go for oil packed then).  Break up the tuna with a wooden spoon.  Make sure to coat the tuna with all the great flavors in the pan.Add 1 heaping tablespoon of capers.  They are very salty and not for the faint of heart.Open up a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes and pour it, juice and all, on top.  If you have kalamatas this is your chance to put them in for added salty flavor.Finally, add the zest and juice of 2 lemons.  Make sure to zest first, then cut them in half, then add the juice; makes things easier.  Optional: season with salt and pepper- it should have enough salt (from capers and olives) and spice (from the red pepper flakes), but to each his/her own.


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