Penne Pasta with Bigeye tuna, anchovy and garlic

Umami. You live for it. You love for it. This is the zest and flavour of life. This dish is packed with all those things you long for.

It’s yummy and nutritious with every bite.

Click on the photo for the big view

It pairs well with a blustery red wine – like a Malbec or Syrah… and you can even tease yourself with a Negroni beforehand.

The Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced or crushed in a garlic press
  • 1 (6 oz) can imported Tuna in Olive oil (see footnotes)
  • 2 ounces (or more) Anchovy fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red Chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 (28 oz) can Whole Tomatoes, pureed (roasted for extra zest)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Pasta preferably Penne to serve two

Let’s do this

Heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet or non-stick pan.
Saute the garlic cloves very briefly just until aromatic.

Add the tuna and a suitable serving of anchovies.
As indicated above, not all tinned tuna are created equal. We found an ocean wise, lightly smoked Portuguese Bigeye Tuna at a local organic market. Get the best. You’ll be glad you did.

Stir to break up the tuna and anchovy fillets. Anchovy requires very little effort to integrate into most dishes – they practically melt… and where Umami is your goal, these little salty fillets are your best friend!

Cook for a couple of minutes. Season with the dried herbs and add the chili flakes, if using.

Add the pureed Tomatoes and then simmer for 10 minutes (while the pasta cooks). Season with a little salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour in the heavy cream and cook until heated up. Add 3/4 of your Parm-Reg cheese and continue to cook until the sauce thickens.

When the pasta is cooked, mix with the sauce. Serve with more cheese on top, if desired. Garnish with flat leaf parsley for an extra zing of green flavour – and you can also add a twist of fresh lemon juice or a small palm full of capers – the acid from this addition will balance the big Umami experience here.

This serves up two large servings with enough left over for a next day lunch. Alternately, you can invite 2 more people over and celebrate life, the Universe and everything.

Closing thoughts

This dish is an example of cooking where small tweaks of the ingredients can make a big difference. There are lots of opportunities to use your imagination. Find your local gourmet markets and spin for quality components. Here in Victoria we have so many great little stores that carry hard to find ingredients. Yes, they might be a couple bucks more but the proof is in the eating. Put a smile on someones face – cook thoughtfully – drink heartily… and enjoy each day like there is no tomorrow.

Victoria resident and guy with a shopping basket permanently attached to his right hand, Colin Newell, has been writing about food and drink for decades. He believes that a dish is only as good as the things that go into it and the wine you wash it down with…