Pasta With Tuna and Cannellini Beans
An easy dinner made entirely with pantry ingredients.
- Servings: 3 to 4.
The word pantry may conjure up an image of a storage space bigger than your entire kitchen. Instead, think of it as the habit of keeping your favorite non-refrigerated ingredients on hand. In this case: pasta, canned tuna, canned cannellini beans, olive oil, and garlic.
You can make this dish in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
- 1 pound of dried pasta, preferably a short pasta like fusilli, medium shells, cavatappi (thick corkscrews), or ziti
- 1 6 oz. can oil-packed tuna (do not drain it)
- 1 16 oz. can cannellini beans, such as Progresso or Goya (drained and well rinsed)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- Black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt.
- Add pasta and cook al dente, according to directions. Start checking for doneness at least a minute before the time on the package's instructions (2 minutes if you're using Ronzoni which I think always says to cook far too long).
- While the pasta is cooking, using a large fry or sauté pan, add the olive oil and bring to moderate heat.
- Add the garlic and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Do not over-brown or else the garlic will become bitter.
- Add the full can of tuna to the pan, both the tuna fish and about 1 tablespon of the oil. Use a wooden spoon to combine with the garlic but don't over stir. You want to retain some reasonably sized pieces of tuna.
- Add the cannellini beans and using the back of the wooden spoon, mash about two-thirds of the beans so that they soften and meld with the smaller pieces of tuna and garlic. Leave a few beans whole. Keep on a low heat and combine and warm all the ingredients.
- When the pasta is done, drain it and add directly into pan with garlic, tuna and beans. Toss to combine and serve.
Canned tuna is usually quite salty so you shouldn't need to add any salt to this dish. Freshly ground pepper, however, may be good to add to taste.
This dish is even nicer if made with high quality imported tuna (e.g., Ortiz, Tonnino, Flott, or Callipo) that has larger pieces of the tuna filet. But make sure it is light, not white tuna, and that it is packed in oil and not water.
Serve with a crisp white wine and a simple green salad.