Fresh tuna is one of those fish that is underutilized in my opinion. Sure, we have all eaten it raw in a spicy tuna roll, or piled high in a tuna tartar, but do we cook it like other fish, and enjoy it served warm with sauce? Well, today we do. Whether it’s Ahi, Albacore, Yellowfin or Bigeye, tuna can be exceptional with seasonal fruits and vegetables, and served with spaghetti.
Cooking tuna is always a controversial thing. Some say, “Tuna should always be raw in the center.” While others can enjoy it at various cooking temperatures. I happen to be the latter, if it’s good tuna, it tastes great prepared at varying degrees (literally). Freshness dictates flavor and you can find good tuna in most good grocery stores, or fresh frozen online for home delivery.
Searing tuna hot in a skillet is always a nice first step for several reasons; it creates caramelization on the outside which means flavor, and it leaves a few crusty bits in the pan, that will heighten the taste of the pan sauce later. The color doesn’t have to be blackened to get good results, just enough to add to the flavor party, if you know what I mean. Leaving the center slightly pink is up to you, depending upon how long you leave the tuna in the pan.
The pan sauce is simple, charred tomatoes with garlic and white wine is pretty much it. Also, a pat of butter at the end of cooking adds a silky texture to the sauce, a step that should not be skipped. The spaghetti is then tossed in this glorious preparation right at the end before serving, to preserve the al dente texture, allowing its twirl-ability on your fork. I like to serve the whole pan of pasta on the table and don’t forget to top the dish with your reserved crispy bacon, it’s not a predominate flavor, but a necessary one. You can slice the tuna into pieces to serve with the pasta, or if you’re super hungry, enjoy the whole filet.
4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
12 ounces spaghetti, cooked al dente
2 tuna filets, about 8 ounces each
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper
fresh oregano for top, optional
oil for pan
- Prepare bacon and pasta above and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
- In a large skillet, add 2 teaspoons oil and place over medium-high heat. Heavily sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper. Place tuna in skillet and sear outside for 3 minutes on first side, and 2 minutes on second side. Remove tuna and place on a plate.
- In the same skillet, add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes on high heat, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to medium and add garlic, stir. After 1 minute, add wine and let sauce cook for 2 minutes, add butter and some of reserved pasta water, stir. Cook sauce for 3 minutes, then add pasta, toss to coat spaghetti in sauce. Add additional pasta water, if needed.
- Place tuna back into pan and sprinkle with bacon and oregano, if desired. Serve family-style, Enjoy!