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Food: Feasts Under $5 – Pasta with Lemon and Tuna

October 24, 2011

I’ve been seeing versions of Pasta with Lemon and Tuna everywhere, so I thought I’d try it for Feasts Under $5. The biggest consideration in this recipe is which type of tuna to use – you can’t just use Starkist. Well, you could, but don’t, you need a meatier, fattier tuna that is packed in oil.

If you check out the tuna section in your grocery store, you’ll see at least 4 classes of canned fish:

1) Starkist or store brand. Cheap. Not an option.
2) Higher end canned tuna (ex. American Tuna):  higher level flaked tuna, $3.69/5.5 oz can
3) Jarred Tuna filets in oil (ex. Tonnino Ventresca), $7.99/6.7 oz jar
4) Super high end filets, (ex. ZOE Ventresca), 4 oz for $12.99

Ventresca tuna is from the belly of the fish – salty, moist, and tender. My favorite is the Tonnino Ventresca- you only need one jar for this recipe, and it’s a bit cheaper than the ZOE but still succulent. Be careful not to cook the tuna in this recipe, you want it to retain its moisture and texture. It just needs to be warmed a bit before eating.

Pasta with Lemon and Tuna:
1 lb pasta
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 small shallot
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 6.7 oz jar Tonnino Ventresca in oil (drained, reserve 1 tbsp oil)
zest from one lemon
juice of two lemons
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Cook pasta, reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, set pasta aside.
Cook oil, garlic, shallot and red pepper over medium heat until fragrant. Add pasta, tuna, tuna oil, lemon zest and juice, and pasta water. Stir until noodles are coated and tuna is warmed. Add parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Voila.

Financial Analysis:
Pasta: $1.99
Tuna: $7.99 for 6.7 oz
Shallot: $.50
Lemons: $1.75 for 2
Parsley: $.50 (you use a lot of parsley in this dish)
Total: $12.73 or $3.18

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