Recipe: Linguine With Fennel Tuna Sauce
A can of tuna, a fennel bulb and some of its fronds marry with white wine, lemon zest and juice to create this pasta dish.
The humble can of tuna continues to inspire recipes; this one, from Levana Kirschenbaum's "The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen," is a keeper because it uses both the fennel bulb and its fronds. White wine, lemon zest and juice balance the flavors of this pasta dish. Serve with tomato halves whose cut sides have been sprinkled with breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, olive oil and sea salt, then roasted in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. Adapted from Kirschenbaum's "The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen, Second Edition" (Levana Kirschenbaum, 2012). — Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick for The Washington Post
Makes 4 servings
8 ounces dried linguine or a long tubular pasta, such as bucatini
2 small fennel bulbs with fronds attached (about 14 ounces total weight)
6 large cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
7 to 11 ounces canned solid white or light tuna, preferably packed in oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
Few leaves flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
2. Meanwhile, finely grate the peel of the lemon to yield about 1 tablespoon, then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice to yield about 1/4 cup.
3. Trim the stems from the fennel, reserving some of the fronds. Trim off and discard the outer layer from each bulb. Coarsely chop a large handful of the fronds and transfer to a food processor. Coarsely chop the garlic and add to the food processor. Pulse until well incorporated and finely chopped. Cut out and discard the core of each bulb. Cut the remaining bulbs into very thin slices (using a sharp knife; or empty the food processor, then attach a cutting disk to achieve thin fennel slices).
4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the frond-garlic mixture and stir to coat evenly; cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then add the sliced fennel and stir to coat; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium.
5. Carefully stir in the wine, lemon zest and juice; cook for 5 minutes, then add the tuna
(to taste, making sure it is flaked and evenly dispersed) and its oil, the pasta and the reserved
cooking liquid. Season with the pepper to taste. Toss to incorporate thoroughly.
6. Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls. If desired, finely chop the parsley and sprinkle
over each portion. Serve warm or at room temperature.