This recipe is based on a classic pasta dish of Sicily. In both the original and baked versions, crispy homemade bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese give the topping lots of flavor. To make the crumbs, whir stale bread with its crust in a food processor
Baked Pasta Dishes
1 pound penne rigate
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Two 6-ounce cans imported tuna packed in olive oil
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup brine-cured black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot.
In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tuna and scallions and remove from the heat. Add the olives, capers, lemon juice, oregano and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and black pepper.
Toss the penne with the tuna sauce, adding a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to moisten the pasta. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake for 8 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
This rustic dish needs a hearty white wine to match its style and provide a cleansing contrast. Try one from Sicily.
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