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Author Notes: This dish works year round as a quick weeknight dinner. Ingredients can be pulled last-minute from pantry, fridge and/or freezer. Or use fresh produce in season Last, keep the corn & vary the root vegetable. Back story: I had spiked my tomato sauce with some horseradish, and built on that. The horseradish adds a warm note running all through the dish. —Nancy
Serves: 4-6 as main, more as a side
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
cups dried short pasta (12 oz, odds & ends or all one kind)
cups simple tomato sauce (home made or store bought)
ounces tuna, preferably canned in oil
cup beets or other root veg (fresh, pickled or canned)
cups corn (fresh, frozen, pickled or canned)
tablespoons horseradish (sauce or freshly grated)
lemon juice or wine vinegar
Salt & freshly ground pepper
tablespoons olive oil (if tuna was canned in water)
- Start about 5-6 quarts water to boil. Add salt. When boiling, add the dry pasta and start to cook it.
- Meanwhile, in an oven-proof casserole (about 4 qt size), mix horseradish, tomato sauce, corn, beets and tuna. Include the beet liquid & tuna oil - they carry good flavors. Or add 1-2 tbsp olive oil if tuna was canned in water.
- When the pasta is nearly al dente (1-2 minutes less than package instructions), remove the pot from the heat. Do not rinse - you'll lose the good starch in the water. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, remove the nearly-cooked pasta to the casserole dish with tomato-fish-vegetables and toss together. Taste & adjust seasoning if needed with salt and pepper, lemon juice or more horseradish. Also add half to one cup pasta cooking water to sauce.
- You can interrupt your prep here and store the mixed but only partially cooked dish in the refrigerator, covered, up to 3 days.
- Warm briefly in a medium hot oven (350-400F) about 15 minutes if making the recipe straight through, or 20-30 minutes if taking it directly from the fridge.
- Wine options. A light Zinfandel or Primitivo, to pick up on the tomato. Or maybe a dry Riesling to pick up on the tuna.
- Extras freeze well. Thaw in fridge, or take directly from freezer to oven or microwave.