Tuna, spinach and pancetta pasta

Now that the Fourth of July weekend is over, you’re probably sick of grilled foods… or perhaps your significant other has revolted from grilling duty due to heat exhaustion… whatever the case, give your grill the night off and make this.

I’m constantly trying to add more fish to our menu without buying expensive fillets or pounds of shrimp (although we eat both frequently). Canned tuna is a great pantry staple, but most recipes are lackluster at best. This one bucks the trend, offering up a warm, salty, spicy bowl of pasta. Plus it’s something you can easily adjust to your taste. I’m a big fan of spinach so I toss in lots, but feel free to scale back or toss in some other veggie. As always, if you find a combo you like be sure to let me know!

Tuna, spinach and pancetta pasta
Adapted from Steven Wagner’s Midnight Pasta with Tuna, Pancetta and Spinach

1/2 pound spaghetti or thin linguine
1 to 2 cups frozen chopped spinach
2 garlic cloves
3 oz. pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 12 oz. can oil-packed tuna
1/4 cup dry white wine

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the water for the pasta heats, thaw spinach and squeeze dry. Mince garlic, chop pancetta (if necessary) and drain tuna. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add pancetta and crushed red pepper, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is golden and crisp. Add the spinach and tuna, breaking up both with a spoon. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.

Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Add reserved liquid and pasta to the skillet and cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed, about 1 minute. Plate pasta and season with salt.

Notes: If you buy thinly sliced pancetta, it will only need to cook for a few minutes. A diced version will need around 5 minutes.

Wine pairing: Dry white wine. If you’re not a big wine drinker, this recipe is a great time to explore. Choose a moderately priced dry white wine and use ¼ cup for the recipe. Serve the rest with the meal.

Lindsey - July 5, 2011 - 10:54 pm

Looks like a great meal to whip up when you don’t feel like going shopping. It utilizes pantry staples really well.

hhawes - July 6, 2011 - 1:57 am

Definitely! I think the only thing I don’t keep on hand is the pancetta.

Janis - July 21, 2011 - 8:04 pm

This looks and sounds super tasty. Think ill be making it for my dinner one night next week. Also love your photos.


hhawes - July 22, 2011 - 12:16 pm

Thanks! You should definitely give it a try. Let me know what you think!

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