Like every other “foodie” in the world I enjoy watching, you guessed it cooking shows. So it should come as no surprise that the other day while working I had the TV set to the Food Network for background noise. Now I have to say that I am not a huge Rachel Ray fan, she tends to get on my nerves a bit. However, I find her mostly genuine and I tend to like some of her ideas; though enough with the freakin’ burgers will ya! Anyhow her show came on and she was making a Puttanesca with Tuna “Polpettes” (otherwise known to everyone else as meatballs!) It sounded very good to me so I stole it! Well not really I mean her point is to take her ideas and run with them right? So that is what I did.
1 lg. can whole tomatoes
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 – 1/3 cup chicken stock
5 (or more whole anchovies)
1 tsp. (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
4-5 cloves garlic minced
small jar capers – drained
3/4 cup of chopped olive cured or kalamata olives
1/2 cup fresh basil shredded
couple good dash of hot sauce – to taste
salt & pepper to taste
1 med – large tuna steak
handful of parsley
2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
salt & pepper
For the sauce heat a saute pan on med high the add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Once hot add your crushed red pepper flakes anchovies. Break up the fillets with a wooden spoon until they are almost resolved then turn down your heat to medium and add your garlic and give a good swirl. Add your crushed tomatoes, stir to combine. While that cooks a bit open your whole tomatoes and reach in gently squeeze them. I know this is messy and there are other ways to do this but I usually use my hands, I like the feel of the tomatoes bursting! When you’re done (take your time I know its fun to play with your food) add them to your pan sauce ‘n all. Give another good stir to combine all the ingredients. Now you can add your chopped olives and capers. Once combined taste for seasoning. Add the hot sauce if you like and since we are using so many salty, briny things it may only need pepper but depending on how you like it you can add a pinch of salt as well. You can add the chicken stock at this point too to thin down your sauce. Since it is not only a sauce but a poaching liquid for the meatballs I tend to like this a little thinner than a traditional ragu so I used about 1/2 of stock but you be the judge of how thin you want your sauce. I also think the stock gives it a little added richness. Also this is the point you would want to add 1/2 of your basil.
These couldn’t be easier! Chunk up your tuna steak and throw in a food processor. Pulse a few times to get it going then add the rest of your ingredients. Pulse until well combines and resembles, well meatball mix! Remove to a bowl and with your hands mix in a small amount of good olive oil. Roll meatballs into about the size of golf balls. Once you have rolled them all place delicately in the sauce. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes! You don’t want to over cook these so I plop them in once the pasta is done. They take no time at all.
Top pasta with sauce and meatballs and garnish with the leftover shredded basil! This will surpise you I promise. The meatballs come out so light and fluffy and you would never guess that is was tuna. They absorb the flavor of the sauce nicely but not too much. Great when you feel like a pasta dish but without the bloated feeling afterword!