Happy New Year!
This is my first post for 2012! There is much hope that 2012 will bring good times for our area which was hit by a cyclone and four floods in early 2011 and the repercussions were felt throughout the year. So far, the weather has been kind. Bright sunshine, occasional rain and humidity. A perfect tropical summer, as it should be!
Summer in North Queensland is hot and humid, quite often unbearably so! Necessary work is completed in the cool of the very early morning or evening and sometimes even then there is no relief.
As night falls, air conditioners can be heard like the humming of mosquitoes in the stillness of the night. And when the monsoonal rain starts there is no stopping it. Humidity is so thick it's hard to breathe.
This is a time when cooking takes a turn. Fresh, cool and easily prepared. This dish, though not really a recipe, fits the bill.
I'll call it my "Pasta Estiva" - Summer Pasta. Though it doesn't really have a name. It's just an idea which originated after a conversation with my Calabrian cousin. All that needs to be cooked is the pasta. In the time it takes to cook the pasta the "sauce" can be prepared. If you can boil water, you can make Pasta Estiva. Think of my choice of ingredients as a template. Alter the ingredients to suit your taste and that of your diners but remember to select best quality ingredients. I hope you enjoy as much as I do!
500g pasta ( I like fusilli, the twirly one, but it's your choice)
185g canned tuna, in oil Italian style
2 or 3 vine ripened tomatoes
stuffed green olives
sundried tomatoes in oil
capers, to taste
dried oregano leaves
oil from the sundried tomatoes
red wine vinegar
freshly cracked black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and salt it well. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. I like to taste a few minutes before the time is up to ensure it is not overcooked.
In the meantime, drain the tuna and place into a large bowl, breaking it up. Chop the tomatoes coarsely, slice the green olives and slice the sundried tomatoes. Place in the bowl with the tuna, mix well. Finely chop capers and mix into remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with oregano.
When the pasta is cooked, drain well and turn immediately into bowl with tuna and tomato mixture. Dress with oil from the sundried tomatoes, red wine vinegar and black pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Toss to combine well.
Turn into large serving bowl or platter and sit back and accept the compliments!