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Spaghetti with tuna and tomato

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July 30, 2008

Serves 6

Italy's proximity to water makes canned tuna ("tonno") an ingredient in many pantries. Take advantage of our local crop of plum tomatoes, which you can chop to make a quick sauce with garlic, onion, crushed red pepper, green olives, and fresh basil. Toss the sauce with tuna, thin spaghetti, chopped parsley, and Parmesan cheese. The dish is equally good hot or at room temperature.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 Italian plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 can (6 ounces) light tuna in oil, drained
1/3 cup pitted green olives, chopped
1 pound thin spaghetti
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. In a large skillet over medium, heat the oil. When it is hot, add the onion, garlic, and red pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until the onion softens.

2. Add the tomatoes, salt, and black pepper. Let the mixture simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are pulpy. Taste the sauce and stir in the sugar if the tomatoes are acidic.

3. Add the basil, tuna, and olives. With the back of a spoon, break the tuna into small chunks. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Drain the pasta into a colander and return the pasta to the cooking pot.

5. Add the tuna mixture to the spaghetti. Toss thoroughly. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with parsley and cheese. Christine Merlo

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