Sheltering in Place – Day 26

We’re all cooking more than usual these days, if we’re fortunate enough to have a place to live and food. I say with great pride I am Italian-American. Actually, genetically I’m only half Italian-American, but I was brought up in that household, surrounded by all my Italian-American family, so I think of myself as 100% pure. I do a lot of Italian cooking and we harken back to Bari, Italy.  If you look real close at the heel of the “boot,” you can see where my people come from. Or to be grammatically correct, from where they comes.

There is a saying in my family: When company’s walking down the sidewalk, put on the pot of water for the macaroni. The gravy (tomato sauce) was always, always made. Of course, none of us are having too much company these days. Looking on the bright side, that means lots of leftovers for the next day. Unless hubby decides to have a late-night snack. You know him.

Anyway, I tried this new recipe. It was relatively easy and I think it’s pretty foolproof all things considered. And it’s different enough from the standard Italian recipes I know to be a nice change of pace. Mr. Gritzer mentions below why it works, and he’s not kidding. Get the good stuff. I sent away for the tuna belly and I used EVVO. Plenty of it. Good for your skin, too. Anyway, I think this recipe is not to be missed. Here is the URL from Serious Eats.

By the way, anyone got their own favorite pasta recipe? I’d love to have something new!

Roman-Style Spaghetti Alla Carrettiera (Tomato, Tuna, and Mushroom Pasta) Recipe – by Daniel Gritzer

Why It Works

  • Adding some of the mushroom soaking water to the sauce adds even more flavor.
  • Some of the oil from the canned tuna infuses the sauce with additional flavor as well.
  • If you can get it, ventresca (belly) tuna is silkier and more tender than most other canned tuna.
  • YIELD:Serves 4
  • ACTIVE TIME:30 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME:40 minutes


  • 1 1/2 ounces (40g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup (235ml) boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for finishing pasta
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • Large pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley leaves and tender stems, divided, plus more for garnish
  • One (28-ounce; 795g) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, thoroughly crushed
  • One (5-ounce; 140g) olive oil-packed tuna, preferably ventresca (tuna belly; see note), oil reserved
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound (450g) dried spaghetti


  1. In a small heatproof bowl or measuring cup, soak mushrooms in boiling water until fully softened, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms from soaking liquid and squeeze out excess moisture back into the bowl or measuring cup. Reserve rehydrated mushrooms and 1/4 cup (60ml) soaking liquid, making sure to dispose of any grit that has settled at the bottom.

  2. In a 5-quart pot, combine 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon minced parsley. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant and garlic is just beginning to turn the lightest shade of gold, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until lightly sautéed and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add reserved 1/4 cup (60ml) mushroom soaking liquid, tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons (30ml) reserved tuna oil (if your tuna doesn’t have that much oil, just add as much as it does), and bring to a simmer. Season with salt.
  5. In a pot of salted, boiling water, cook spaghetti, stirring frequently, until just shy of al dente, about 1 minute less than package recommends. While spaghetti is cooking, flake tuna into pasta sauce.
  6. Using tongs, transfer spaghetti directly into simmering sauce along with 1/4 cup (60ml) pasta cooking water, stirring to combine. Cook, stirring, until pasta is al dente and sauce has thickened, so it coats noodles and isn’t watery, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup minced parsley and 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil, stirring vigorously to combine. If sauce is too thick, add more olive oil or pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well between additions, until desired sauce consistency is reached. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
  7. Transfer to warmed plates and sprinkle with minced parsley. Serve right away.

    I added grated Pecorino-Romano, but hubby didn’t.

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