Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spaghetti all'Ascolana

A local specialty pasta, this dish makes an appearance on just about every menu in town, especially this time of year when the weather heats up. I'm not sure what tuna has to do with Ascoli Piceno, but they are wild about the stuff around here. The aisles at the supermarket have more varieties of canned tuna than I knew could possibly exist!

Simple ingredients make for a tasty combination, and in the time it takes the spaghetti to cook, dinner is ready...doesn't get much better than that, especially in the summer when you don't want to be spending time in a hot kitchen.

1 pound spaghetti
olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (to your taste)
dash red chile flakes
1 C. white wine
1 1/2 C. chopped fresh tomatoes (about 3 tomatoes)
2 cans tuna, packed in olive oil*
a couple of handfuls of green olives (here they use the local Ascoli Tenera variety, which is a very large, mild and meat olive that is not heavily vinegary. But whatever type of green olive you prefer.
Chopped parsley
Pecorino cheese, grated

Put the pot of water to boil for cooking the spaghetti and proceed with the sauce.

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Add the red chile flakes, a light sprinkling of salt and pepper, the wine and tomatoes and stir well. Add the tuna and simmer about 10 minutes. Toss in the olives, sprinkle with chopped parsley and add to the cooked spaghetti. Top with a grating of pecorino cheese.


The Passionate Palate said...

Ciao! I just found your sites and love your stories and recipes. I noticed in your profile that you are in Italy for at least a year, and it looks like it has now been longer than that. Are you guys staying? How do you like Ascoli Piceno? My husband is from Macerata (we live in the States.)

He makes a tuna pasta like this one but without the olives. I like the idea of adding the olives. I am very curious, though, do they really put pecorino on this dish? It sounds odd to me. But if you say it is good, I will give it a whirl!

Valerie said...

Hi! They do give you the bowl of pecorino for this dish...in fact, it's the only pasta dish with fish in it that I've ever encountered where they will "allow" you to put the cheese on top! Maybe it's just here in Ascoli, though.

We love Le Marche, and especially Ascoli Piceno. Macerata is nice, too. Next time you're in the area, give us a holler!

Nathan said...

We are the translators (USA) of "Legends of the Sibilline Mountains" (available on Amazon). We visit Ascoli every year; my grandparents were from Montegallo. I have been eating spaghetti all'ascolana since infancy (no onions just garlic). Generally Italians don't put cheese on seafood, but I always say do what you like.