With a tip of the hat to The New York Times and the recipe here for tuna salad with no mayo, which is my standard tuna salad recipe now, I took the same idea and turned it into a pasta dish:
Summery Noodles with Tuna and Peas
3/4 cup fresh peas (or substitute frozen)
2 cups dried noodles (I used egg noodles here, but you could use anything)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 can good tuna, in olive oil, drained
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1/4 lemon, divided
2 tsp capers, chopped
dash of pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (don’t sub dried here, the effect will be all wrong)
Rinse the peas and submerge them in a strainer in boiling water for 2-4 minutes, until tender.* Remove and rinse again in cold water to cool. Set aside.
Toss the pasta in the same water and cook to package directions. Do not salt the water. This dish will be plenty salty when all is said and done.
Meanwhile, heat a dry pan over high heat. Toss in the pecans and toast for a few seconds. Be careful — they’ll burn fast. When you can smell them, it’s usually almost too late.
Remove the pecans and set aside. Pour olive oil into pan and toss in the tuna, balsamic, zest, a squeeze of the lemon (reserving some for later), the chopped capers and pepper. Stir to heat. Toss in half of the parsley, the peas and pecans. Stir a few times and turn off the burner.
Ladle out about 1/2 cup of the pasta water into a small bowl. Drain the pasta.
Spoon the tuna mixture over the pasta in a large bowl. Squeeze some more lemon juice over it. Toss in the rest of the parsley. Pour a bit of the reserved water over it so it’s not too dry and sticks to the noodles nicely. Toss and eat!
* By the way, this was the first time I cooked with fresh peas. I found this recipe when looking for directions about how to cook them. I think I’ll make this dish for a shrimp pasta with peas someday soon too.
You may be wondering, why drain the olive oil out of the tuna if you’re just going to cook it in more olive oil? Because the olive oil that the tuna has been soaking it is now tuna-ey olive oil and a wee bit too strong for my tastes. Draining it and then adding clean olive oil has better flavor, to me. Plus, there’s way too much olive oil in a can of tuna for this recipe.