Confited tuna and bagna cauda provide a briny foil to the bitter broccoli rabe in this high-end take on tuna casserole from chef Adam Eaton’s Saint Dinette restaurant in St. Paul.
Slideshow:More Cavatelli Recipes
TUNA CONFIT :
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 pound albacore tuna fillets
1 cup olive oil
2 thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove
BAGNA CAUDA :
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons anchovy paste
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cavatelli pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
8 ounces broccoli rabe, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fried potato sticks (such as Utz Potato Stix), for garnish
How to Make It
Make the tuna confit: In a medium bowl, stir together salt and brown sugar. Add tuna; rub with salt mixture to completely coat fish. Cover and cure in refrigerator 1 hour. Rinse tuna thoroughly, and pat dry.
In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup oil, thyme, and garlic clove over low heat to 200°F. Carefully submerge tuna in oil and cook until cooked through, about 40 minutes. Using tongs, transfer tuna to paper towels to drain. Let cool completely; flake into large chunks.
Make the bagna cauda: In a small saucepan, cook 6 tablespoons oil and garlic paste over low heat, stirring, until very fragrant but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced by half, 5 to 7 minutes. Add anchovy paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until emulsified. Whisk in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and season with pepper. Keep warm over very low heat, whisking occasionally.
Make the pasta: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain; reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.
Wipe out pot, add 1/4 cup oil, and heat over moderate heat. Add red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add pasta, tuna, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and half of reserved cooking liquid and cook, stirring gently, until hot and pasta is lightly coated, about 3 minutes, adding additional cooking liquid if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer pasta to 4 shallow bowls and drizzle with a little of the bagna cauda. Garnish with cheese and potato sticks.
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Review Body: I used twice as much tuna and broccolini as the recipe because it was too carb heavy, not enough protein. It worked beautifully, and was so good I made it again for guests 3 days later! Not sure of the purpose of the cure in this case. The tuna was delicious, but I can't frequently use that much olive oil, so will probably try it next time with a different preparation. I also poured the bagna cauda on, a little at a time, and tossed it. don't think it would be flavored evenly just drizzling it. Finally, we had some Trader Joe's potato chips which I crushed for a topping. Yum! Didn't need cheese.