Saturday, March 5, 2016

Linguine with Tuna, Black Olives and Tomatoes

When I was little, we lived with my Italian Grandmother. Sundays and holidays were a big deal because my dad’s sisters, brother and their spouses and kids came to visit….every week!  It was a delightful time, filled with many happy memories. It was also very loud...a gaggle of Italians make for a spirited time indeed.  Each sibling had their own personality that, even as a kid, I clearly recognized.  Thoughts of my feisty Aunt Adeline (far right) always bring a smile to my face, perhaps because I think I’m most like her.  My wonderful dad is the little guy, Uncle Eddie behind him, Aunt Millie on the left and of course my Grandpop and beloved Grandmom.

Anyway, on Christmas Eve, we would gather and celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, Festa dei sette pesci.  Today, I would appreciate such a celebration with its wonderful selection of seafaring creatures but, way back in 1965 when I was not yet 10, I’d rather be tarred and feathered and hung in St. Frannie’s school yard than eat anchovies, cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, or mussels.

I clearly remember the smelts, they were fried.  Fried smelts did not even sound good to me. 

I complained to my Grandmother and she, never wanting to disappoint a beloved grandchild, especially her mother’s namesake (in Italian, Giovanna), prepared the children a special dish of tuna in gravy served over spaghetti, because, there was no compromising on eating fish on Christmas Eve. 

All this brings me to our dinner last Wednesday evening.  It was C.’s turn to cook and she made a dish from a well-loved, falling apart, stained but oh-so-reliable and my kind of cookbook called, 365 Days of Pasta, Linguine with Tuna, Black Olives and Tomatoes.   Even the smell of this delicious dish brought me right back to Christmas Eve on North 22nd Street in Philadelphia. 

Thank you for the wonderful dinner, C., but mostly, thank you for the memory.

Linguine with Tina, Black Olives and Tomatoes

1 can (14 1/2 oz)whole, peeled tomatoes, drained
4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (6 1/2 oz) tuna, packed in olive oil
3 Tablespoons pitted and chopped imported black olives
1 lb. linguine
2 Tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley

Coarsely chop the drained tomatoes.  Heat olive oil in a skillet until warm, add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about one minute.  Add the tomatoes, tuna and black olives, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add salt to taste.  

Meanwhile, cook the linguine until al dente (firm to the bite).  Drain the pasta and toss with the tuna sauce, sprinkle with parsley and pepper and serve.

1 comment:

Kate Centofante said...

Love took me immediately back to that wonderful simpler time. I can see Grandmom standing in the kitchen in her apron. How lucky are we to have such fond memories !!!!!