Monday, March 23, 2009

Dinner out of a can

When my husband goes to Sam's Club by himself, he'll bring home things like the family size Picnic Condiment pack - two 48 oz. squeeze bottles each of ketchup, yellow mustard, and relish. Why? Because someday, his logic goes, we might have a really big barbecue. Like, all of Northwestern University - all 25,000 people - might come over. Not that I'm immune to hypnotic purchasing trances. Last time I was at Sam's, I bought a 24 pack of V-8 juice. I don't even like V-8 juice. So it sat, languishing in my basement, for months and months.  

Then I found this recipe. Figures it's from Nancy Silverton. She's my idol. Has been for years. She's a pastry chef in LA, but that's like saying Michael Jordan was a basketball player in Chicago. I don't want to sound too puppy love-ish here, but I would clean her toilets if she asked. Anyway, here it is: what you might be having for dinner tomorrow night. 

Spaghettini with Tuna and V-8 Sauce
Adapted from "A Twist of the Wrist" by Nancy Silverton

1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of chile flakes(optional)
Olive oil
1 cup V-8 juice
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into pieces (this is my addition)
1 can tuna packed in olive oil (I get mine from Whole Foods - the Cento brand), drained
Spaghettini or spaghetti for however many you're serving (I use a box for four people)

Boil the water for the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, saute the onion, celery and garlic in a generous Tbs. of olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pepper flakes, if using, and V-8 juice. Bring just to a boil, then let cool a bit. Put the sauce and red bell pepper pieces into a blender (a food processor is ok, too). Blend well. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Toss the drained, cooked pasta with the sauce, then flake the tuna over the pasta and toss again. Nancy adds coarsely chopped olives and capers, and I would do that, too, but then my children would end up having cereal for dinner. A sprinkling of chopped parsley would be great, too. 

This serves 4 people with medium appetites. The sauce, once made, can be refrigerated for several days. Add the tuna right before serving. 

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