What’s in a name? Plenty. Today’s dish is an homage to Spain which may not need much homage as it has firmly planted itself on the New York restaurant scene. I count no fewer than 42 tapas restaurants in Manhattan alone on http://spanishtapasnyc.com/. But if you want something really Spanish, I suggest you head there. Because this dish has its roots firmly planted in the US of A. It was a mainstay in many a household when I was growing up. It was prized for its simplicity and the speed with which it could appear on the dinner table. So if Spanish isn’t your strong suit, here’s the translation: Tuna Noodle Casserole. But would you have stopped to read a post about Tuna Noodle Casserole? I didn’t think so.
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own home pantry
Recipe for Cazuelas de Atun e Farfalle from Grace Parisi in Food and Wine Magazine 40 Minutes Start to Finish. Serves 4.
12 ounces farfalle pasta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk or half-and-half
1 1/2 cups frozen baby peas
3/4 cup piquillo peppers, sliced (6 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
One 6-ounce can or jar solid white tuna in oil, drained and flaked
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Preheat the oven to 450°. Cook the farfalle pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the milk and bring to a boil. Cook the sauce over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes.
Add the farfalle pasta, frozen baby peas, sliced piquillo peppers, Parmigiano cheese and tuna and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish, a cazuela (casserole dish) or 4 individual gratin dishes.
In a small skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the panko and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle the panko over the casserole and bake for 10 minutes (5 minutes for individual gratins), or until bubbling. Serve right away.