Penne with Tuna “Puttanesca”
Penne shares the award for being one of the most popular pasta shapes in the world with spaghetti. In Italian, “penne” is the plural of the word “penna,”which means “quill.” But let’s switch to the deliciously edible variety of penne: Penne pasta!
The recipe that Chef Rosario is featuring this month is his own interpretation of two traditional pasta specialties: the celebrated Pasta alla Puttanesca and the lesser-known pasta with tuna. Puttanesca is the quintessential Neapolitan recipe featuring spaghetti with the seductive flavors of ripe tomatoes, garlic, chili peppers, capers and olives, and anchovies. Here, spaghetti is switched out for penne and tuna in olive oil is used instead of anchovies. Did it work? Try it and let us know!
Penne with Tuna “Puttanesca”
- 8 oz Penne rigate
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 14.5 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1/3 cup Gaeta black olives, pitted and sliced in half
- 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
- 1 jar tuna in olive oil
- 1 pinch hot red chili flakes
Bring a large pot of water (4 to 5 quarts) to a boil over high heat.
While water is heating, slice the olives and the onion, and chop the garlic, chili peppers, and parsley.
Heat oil in a large non-reactive pan on medium heat.
Add sliced onion, chopped garlic and chili peppers to the hot oil. Cook for a minute or two over medium heat, being careful NOT to brown the garlic.
Add capers, olives, and the can of tomatoes. Stir often with a wooden spoon, breaking up tomatoes as you mix.
Cook for 10 minutes.
Turn heat to low and add tuna to the sauce, breaking it up into chunks.
Once the water has reached a rapid boil, add salt and then the pasta. Cook until very al dente (about 1 minute less than the recommended cooking time on package directions).
When pasta is ready, reserve ½ cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
Transfer the pasta to the pan with the tuna puttanesca sauce along with some of the pasta water as needed to keep the sauce moist but not too wet; mix well on low heat until all the flavors are well incorporated, making sure that all the pasta water has been absorbed.
Transfer to a platter or portion onto individual plates. Top with freshly chopped Italian parsley at the last minute.
For this quintessential Mediterranean recipe, I am going to suggest a white wine from the Campania region, the homeland of Puttanesca and of the delicious grape variety Falanghina, an ancient Italian white-wine grape of Greek origin, grown in Campania since the pre-Roman era.
Try this refreshing Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina 2018. It’s from a local family-owned winery committed to bringing indigenous grapes back to the modern table. This wine features the aromas of ripe fruits with hints of citrus peel and aromatic spices. Salute!