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Jim Coleman Recipes

Pappardelle with Bluefin Tuna and Oregano
(Reprinted with permission from Il Viaggio di Vetri by Marc Vetri with David Joachim, copyright © 2008. Published by Ten Speed Press.)

If you like sushi, try this recipe. It is one of the simplest in the book. Sushi chefs sometimes use a blowtorch to brown the surface of a piece of raw tuna yet keep the inside tender and fresh. Here, the tuna is briefly warmed with only the heat of freshly cooked pasta to keep the raw fish even more pure. A little oregano and olive oil make this dish a breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. Makes 6 to 8 servings
Photo credit: Douglas Takeshi Wolfe © 2008

For this recipe you will need:

  • 8 ounces Basic Pasta Dough
  • 1 1/2 pounds bluefin tuna fillet
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped if large
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Make the pasta dough and roll out as directed. Lay the pasta sheets on a lightly floured work surface and cut crosswise into strips 1 to 11/2 inches wide. You should have about 30 strips from each sheet. Cover and let rest at room temperature until ready to cook. Cut the tuna into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the oregano and mix well.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 30 to 90 seconds, or until barely tender. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the water.

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about 2 minutes, or until translucent. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the drained pasta and 3/4 cup of the pasta water, and simmer for about 2 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced and the sauce is emulsified.

4. Add the tuna mixture and lemon zest and toss gently with the noodles and sauce. The tuna should be just warmed and the pasta should be well coated with sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more pasta water to thin it. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Prep Ahead
The pappardelle can be cut, arranged in a single layer, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 weeks.

Here is one of the few dishes in Marc's repertoire that calls for a red Bordeaux. Look to the second labels of the better-known producers to sniff out the hidden gems, such as Le "D" de Daussault from the famed Chateau Dassault, which has the perfect flavor profile. It comes from the Merlot-rich Saint-Emilion region and also includes about one-fourth Cabernet grapes (some Cabernet Sauvignon and some Cabernet Franc) that give it a tannic and vegetal structure that simultaneously cuts the fat of the bluefin and balances the spice of the oregano. - J.B.

©2008 WHYY