It has been a few years since I had made this dish, mostly because it is difficult to get good tuna here and I used to make it with bluefin when that was relatively plentiful and cheap (I know, I'm dating myself). While I love where I live, one of the area's biggest negatives has been that it has been relatively difficult to get top quality fresh seafood at a reasonable price. That recently changed, though, when I discovered at the beginning of November that Pura Vida Seafood, fishermen from Suffolk County in Long Island, are now making the trek up to the Saturday Farmers Market in Troy, N.Y. Though that market has always been one of the best in the area, I have generally stayed closer to home, shopping at the Glens Falls and Saratoga Markets. With Pura Vida and their fantastic variety of wonderfully fresh seafood, I have started making the drive down to Troy more regularly. This past Saturday I loaded up on sea scallops, grey sole, clams, oysters and some gorgeous yellowfin tuna.
This dish was one of my mother's Friday staples as I was growing up. It couldn't be simpler, however, the quality of the fish is critical.
FRESH yellowfin tuna 1.5 pounds
500g good Italian Bucatini pasta
1 large can of whole tomatoes preferably San Marzano DOP
1 large red onion cut in half and sliced 1mm thick on a mandoline (diced is fine)
2 large cloves of garlic sliced thin or minced.
1 clump of fresh basil chiffonaded
1 tablespoon chili powder (optional)
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons good olive oil
1. Cook the onions in 2 tbsp of olive oil on low medium heat until translucent then add the garlic and cook lightly.
2. Add the can of tomatoes and a half a can of water and heat through. Once heated, I took a stick blender and pureed everything together. Add the chili powder at this point if desired.
3. In a separate pan cook the tuna in a tablespoon of olive oil to sear it.
4. Add the tuna to the tomato sauce and simmer for several hours with a lid on and kept just ajar. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon or spatula.
5. Cook the pasta al dente then transfer to a large pasta bowl.
6. Once the pasta is done add the chiffonaded basil and remaining olive oil to the sauce and stir.
7. Add the sauce to the pasta, breaking up the tuna as you do. Toss and serve hot.