In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fennel seeds, the orange zest, and the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the tuna and its oil and the chickpeas, cover, and remove the pan from the heat.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fedelini until just done, about 6 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce, 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, and the parsley. If the sauce seems too thick, add more of the reserved pasta water.
Canned Tuna: Different brands of tuna vary tremendously. Here we use tuna packed in oil, and we count on that oil as part of the sauce. If your tuna has less than 1 1/2 tablespoons oil per can, add a little extra cooking oil to make up for the difference.
Wine Recommendation: Wine with plenty of acidity will stand up to the fennel and tuna. A bottle of either Sancerre from the Loire Valley in France or sauvignon blanc from California will do nicely.
Quick From Scratch Pasta
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I suspected that the fennel seed and orange rind in this recipe would make this dish taste like something you'd order in a good restaurant and I was right. I used a blood orange because that's what I had but I imagine you could also use clementine rind if you have clementines lying around. I followed the recipe exactly but would recommend a few small changes. • Three-quarter pounds of pasta is too much; I'd go with one-half pound. Or cook three-quarter pounds but reserve some cooked pasta until you're sure of the sauce/pasta ratio. And rather than pair this with long pasta, as directed, I might try a short pasta like penne or mezze penne with this, since the sauce is more chunky / less saucy.• I added sliced black olives at the very end because tuna, canned or fresh, always seems to ask for olives. • NB that canned tuna is usually 5 ounces per can and this recipe calls for 6. • Don't drain the tuna. (I made that mistake...) Keep the oil that's in the can/jar for flavor. • This recipe isn't super-easy, but MUCH yummier than it is difficult.
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