pasta with tuna bolognese
photo by Jennifer Johnson
This non-meat version will completely wow your guests and make pescatarians everywhere happy as well. Be sure not to forget the cinnamon, as it’s the key flavor component to this dish.
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks (with leaves), roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds fresh tuna, chopped
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 pound pappardelle or tagliatelle
- Roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish, optional
- Ricotta cheese, crème fraîche, or farmer’s cheese, for serving, optional
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving, optional
- In a food processor, purée onion, celery, carrot, and garlic (in batches if necessary) until finely minced.
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add puréed vegetables and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add tuna. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tuna just starts to turn color (from pink to gray), about 10 minutes.
- Add wine to deglaze pan, scraping up browned bits on bottom. Increase heat to medium-high and continue cooking until wine is mostly evaporated, 5-10 minutes. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and ground cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1-11/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened.
- Stir in milk and cook for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 7-10 minutes. Drain and transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and top with bolognese. Garnish with parsley and serve alongside cheeses (if using).
cook’ note: If you don’t have a food processor you can also chop the veggies by hand. Just make sure they are as close to the same size as possible so that they cook evenly. Cooking time of vegetables may be longer if pieces are bigger than minced.