8.31.2019

It's Too Darn Hot

Well, that is what everyone everywhere is saying these days, isn’t it?

When it is hotter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania than it is in the desert of Tucson, Arizona, you know something is wrong.

When it’s too hot to read, too hot to think, too hot to breathe, and too hot to blink your eyes... it is definitely too hot to cook.

When this is the case, I turn to one of my favorite pasta recipes. Yes, I have to bring a pot of water to a boil, but other than that this dish isn’t cooked and it’s a breeze.

And I get to use all those home-brined capers from our garden!

And, aside from being easy, it’s too darn good!

~ David

Pasta with Tuna, Lemon, and Capers

12 ounces short pasta — I like gigli or camapanelle
2 5-ounce cans tuna packed in oil
finely grated zest and juice of 2 organic lemons
2 tablespoons capers, drained
extra virgin olive oil, q.b. (quanto basta - Italian for as much as you need)
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving (optional) *

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta.

Meanwhile, drain the tuna (yes, you will add oil later, but the oil from the can is too strong and generally not of the highest quality) and flake it into a large mixing bowl. Add the zest and juice from the lemons, the capers, and some olive oil (start with several tablespoons and see how it looks/feels). Mix well but be gentle — you don’t want to break up the tuna too much.

When the pasta is al dente, scoop it from the water and add to the tuna mixture. Toss lightly and add some pasta water if you like it a bit saucier.

Divide among 4 pasta bowls and serve hot, warm or cool with the grated cheese on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

* Canned tuna is one of the rare exceptions in Italian cooking when serving cheese on a fish pasta is allowed. Some may disagree but there are many reliable sources that corroborate this.


36 comments:

  1. Absolutely fantastic ! BTW, our weatherman says our rainy days should start tomorrow afternoon. We are desperately waiting to see if true :-)

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    1. I hope you got the rain, Davorka! It is always such a relief after a heat wave!

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  2. And I have all these ingredients in my cupboard - maybe dinner tonight.

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    1. Let me know what you think. I hope you got my note about the tuna.

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  3. One of my favourites also . . . so easy to put on the table if an unexpected crowd arrives and makes no motion to leave after a few glasses of vino :) ! Am smiling because I have never heard it said in Australia that it is too hot to cook ! If we thought like that we would not have hot food from early spring to late autumn !!! Giggles: in this house, which has no AC, the oven goes on t'out the year and slow-cooks will be made top of the stove also . . . geography, as usual !!!

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    1. Personally, Eha, I never find it too hot to cook! But I also have AC and that makes a huge difference! I admire you living through those hot months without AC!

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    2. *smile* If your electricity prices were the highest in the world you just might pause ! The first week in spring we are having four days above 80F ! One truly gets used to it and love it . . . and workers doing heavy physical labour outside are allowed to stop past 104F and the elderly are warned to keep hydrated ! No problems bar bushfires !!!

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    3. We are very lucky—our house is 100% solar powered so we pay nothing for our electricity. And our AC is actually a heat pump, so a bit better for the environment. But I agree—once you go above 100 it can be very dangerous for the elderly! Glad it isn’t too bad for you!

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  4. I know what you mean by being 'too hot to cook.'I recently arrived in San Diego, where it is 80 F, and I just don't feel much like cooking! Must be worse in Arizona, for sure. I could also see myself using your lovely Orechiette pasta for this recipe.

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    1. Only 80°? You should visit us in Tucson, Fran! We dream of 80°! This would be really good with homemade orecchiette! I will do that next time!

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  5. It's too hot there, and it's so damn cold here. We're still using heaters and making fires! I guess we did leave the warmer Sydney plains for cooler mountain altitudes!

    I'm so happy to see your home-grown and home-brined capers! I find it odd that canned tuna gets away with the no cheese rule. Something to do with being quite robust in flavour to begin with? I can't say I've ever tried canned tuna that's delicate in flavour; although I do eat it quite rarely.

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    1. But your fireplace looks so cozy, John! I hope you are happy with your move!

      I still find the cheese with this dish quite controversial. The hard and fast rule is no cheese with fish... yet I have found several that have it. I think there is some denial on the part of some Italians....

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  6. Made this last night after seeing it on your Facebook feed! That hit the spot! I used shell pasta and it was perfect for capturing bits of tuna and capers. Super delicious, will probably end up being a regular menu item! I can't get enough of lemon and capers. Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. I am so thrilled that you liked it, Caroline! Hope Mike did, as well! I’m like you - lemon and capers together are fantastic!

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  7. It's actually cooling down a bit over here. Feels downright cool compared with Panama! But no matter, a nice bowl of pasta e tonno is always welcome. I have my version (as you know) but this one sounds very nice, too. I'll hold the cheese but won't judge you. ;-) You know, after meeting some Italians who put parmigiano on their spaghetti with garlic and oil, anything goes!

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    1. I was wondering about the Panama weather when I saw you were there, Frank! I don’t know how I would manage that!

      I generally hold the cheese, too, but am willing to serve it only with canned tuna dishes or other tinned fishes. Because I can’t have the spaghetti aglio e olio, I didn’t know it was another case of no cheese! Thanks for that tip!

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    2. It was hot and *extremely* humid. At least your heat is dry, I imagine. It's the humidity that kills me.

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    3. That is exactly why we moved from the East Coast to the desert. The humidity really saps me of all my energy! I have much more in dry heat!

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  8. I LOVE this simple meal, David! I have capers on hand and I will certainly make this this week. First day of fall is September 23 this year... although I'm sure it will be absolutely scorching here until November :P Hopefully, you will get some cooling rain your way soon! xoxo

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    1. Our heat will abate sometime in October — but the worst is over, I think! Hope you enjoy this, Marcelle — this is a hit with kids, so maybe yours will enjoy it, too!

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  9. This looks delicious David! Sometimes simple is the best!

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    1. I would go for simpler more often than not but, when I say that, no one believes me!

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  10. Love the salad, and guess what. I bought 3 new caper bushes to add to my garden from the inspiration I got here a couple weeks back... It's too "darn hot" to plant them now, but soon. GREG

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    1. Glad you got the capers bushes, Greg - I imagine you will be able to start brining capers next summer!

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  11. What a nice, simple dish. LOVE that your always using your home grown capers! Still on my list to do that one day. :-)

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    1. We are about to run out of the homegrown capers but there will be more next season!

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  12. I've never met a pasta dish I didn't like. I've had tuna mainly in cold pasta dishes (salads, actually), never warm. Really need to try this -- it looks extremely good. Thanks!

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    1. Yes - someone took this as a pasta salad and it is definitely a hot main course! It is extremely good and - best yet extremely quick!

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  13. David, what a lovely idea! And another way for me to use capers! Seriously, this heat is wrecking me, so this is perfect. Even though my capers are not home-grown and home-brined!

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    1. You and I are so much alike, Jean - I always look fro an excuse to use capers!

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  14. Dear David, love, love this idea for a 'hot-summers-day-pasta' and will certainly keep this in the back of my mind for a family meal in the near future - great tip about the oil from the tuna, I like to add a good quality olive oil as well when I use oil-brined tuna and discard the one from the can, as you do.
    Ganz liebe Grüße aus dem herbstlichen Bonn!
    Andrea

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    1. Good quality olive oil - especially in a dish like this - makes a world of difference!

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  15. Oh I love that you brine your own capers and then can use them in a lovely dish like this! Such a great feeling of accomplishment, isn't it?

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    1. It is, Christina! We are about out of our home-brined ones fro the season - but there is always next year!

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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