My husband’s been away, and the first thing my kids did was ask me “Mama, can we PLEASE have REAL pasta before Daddy get’s home?”
I’ll let you into a secret. It doesn’t matter how often I tell you that there is nothing wrong with gluten free pasta, I’m lying. the whole al dente thing is just impossible to get without gluten, as far as I’ve seen anyway. So, with the coeliac away the rest will play, and so here’s last night’s dinner – my absolute favourite, super easy pasta, that looks and tastes good enough to come from a restaurant. And, you can have it prepped and cooked in about 20 minutes, tops. Easy gourmet – gotta love it.
- 500g tuna fillet/steak – at least 2cm thick.
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- finely zested peel of one lemon
- 2 small green zucchini (couza/corgette)
- 400g spaghetti
- 1 tbsp. sunflower oil
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- water for boiling
- Parmesan for garnish
- Place your water on to boil. Add a good pinch of salt. Place a griddle pan (you know, those frying pans with lines on.) on the highest heat.
- Cut your tuna steak into cuboid logs at least 2cm x 2cm thick, and rub in sunflower oil.
- Place ½ the parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper on a plate and scramble together with your fingers, then roll the tuna in it, coating loosely.
- Place tuna directly on the griddle, cooking for 1 minute on each side. If you have a 2cm x 2cm pieces, this will leave the sides with nice char lines, and the centre medium, with just a touch of pink. Set aside on a board to rest. (but leave the griddle on – you will need it for the zucchini.)
- Your water will be boiling by now – add spaghetti and don’t forget to stir a few times while it’s cooking. Cook to instructions on packet.
- Using a large peeler or mandolin, slice the zucchini into fine, paper-like strips. Brush lightly with oil. Lay on the griddle and cook just until you see black lines formed on both sides. Remove and set aside.
- Slice the tuna crossways so you have nice little squares.
- When the pasta has cooked, strain well, and then in a bowl, add the rest of the parsley, a good dose of salt and the olive oil. Toss well.
- Twirl the spaghetti onto plates, and top with the zucchini, tuna and chilli slices, then use a peeler to shave parmesan on top. Garnish further with cracked black pepper if desired.
- You don’t need a griddle pan to cook this. An electric grill would work well, a barbecue, or even a fry-pan (but you won’t get the lines.)
- Tuna is served the world-round from completely raw to completely cooked. It’s your preference when it comes to how much you cook it – just keep in mind that it will dry out as it cooks. If you like yours well-done, consider adding some extra olive oil and perhaps a squeeze of lemon to the finished plate.
- Also note that the tuna will lose stability the more you cook it, and so you may be better off flaking it than slicing if it does not have any pinkness in the middle.
- When you are selecting fresh tuna, look for a vibrant colour. Avoid pieces with a pearlescent/rainbow sheen (this can be safe, but often suggests a lack of freshness or an inexperienced fishmonger) or brown spots (except for the blood line, which is natural and in each fish, but best avoided anyway if you like a lighter flavour). It should smell like the sea, but not overly fishy. It should be moist but not slimy, and with no drying around the edges.
- To present your spaghetti in neat swirls, use a large fork and dessertspoon. Spear a section of pasta, thrusting deeply, and start twirling over the spoon as you move it to the plate. Continue twirling using the bottom of the plate as your surface to tidy up any loose strings.