It’s hot. I mean, really hot. As I’m writing this, the temperature outside is inching its way towards 100 degrees and the humidity is enough to hold a rake upright. This isn’t the kind of weather where I want to bother turning the oven on. In fact, this weather doesn’t make me want to do much cooking at all. For sticky nights like these, I turn to simple pasta dishes with no-cook sauces, like this Mediterranean Pasta with Tuna.
This dish is so much more than the sum of its parts. Pasta gets tossed with canned line-caught wild albacore tuna (more on the tuna below), shallots, garlic, spinach, pine nuts, olives and tomatoes, and everything is then swathed in a no-cook Dijon dill dressing. It’s a quick and easy dinner, and besides boiling the pasta, no cooking is involved.
The quality of the ingredients makes a difference here. Use good quality extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed) and vinegar, and buy line-caught canned wild albacore tuna, which is sustainably caught, low in mercury and has an incomparable flavor compared to other canned tunas.
Since the dish comes together so quickly using mostly pantry staples, this is also one of my go-to dinners on busy weeknights. It’s also easily adaptable. If you don’t have spinach, try arugula, watercress or baby chard. And if you don’t have any fresh tomatoes (or if it isn’t the season for them), use jarred roasted red peppers instead.
It’s a quick and healthful one-dish dinner that won’t have you sweating over the stove.
Mediterranean Pasta with Tuna & No-Cook Dijon Dill Sauce
- 16- oz . (1 lb) shaped pasta, such as rombi, rotini or bow tie (regular, quinoa or whole wheat pastas are all good)
- 5 oz . fresh baby spinach leaves (about 8 cups)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (1 medium shallot)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced or grated
- 2 6- oz . cans pole caught wild albacore tuna , drained and flaked
- 2 cups grape tomatoes , halved
- 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives , coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, put the spinach, chopped shallots, garlic, drained tuna, grape tomatoes, olives, pine nuts and red pepper flakes in a really large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, whisk together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, chopped dill, extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta, then immediately add it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the Dijon dill sauce over the pasta, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add a splash more oil and vinegar if you desire. Serve immediately.