It poured my last day in Amsterdam. A heavy, drenching rain that signified summer was well and truly over.
I huddled in my brother’s living room, swathed in blankets and looking out over the canals, pondering what to have for lunch on such a stormy, really-don’t-want-to-go-outside day.
My thoughts drifted to a sun-drenched country house outside Bologna, Italy.
I had been there only two days before staying with my dear friend Maddalena and her family. To say that she spoiled me rotten would be putting it mildly: authentic Italian food for every. single. meal. Amazing.
I absolutely loved sitting on the veranda with these people who had opened their home to me and made me feel so welcome.
I peppered Maddalena with questions about Bolognese Italian cooking. I loved learning how to make real Italian minestrone soup and thoroughly enjoyed real Italian breakfasts complete with pastry and espresso.
I was intrigued to note that nearly every pasta dish I tasted had olive oil as the only sauce. What a revelation! No marinara, no alfredo, no meatballs, just pasta cooked perfectly and tossed with top quality ingredients and numerous glugs of fruity olive oil.
I have two favorite pasta dishes from my time in Bologna, and today I’ll share the one I make most. It is simple as can be and ranks as pure comfort food in my books. The perfect thing to have on a rainy day in Amsterdam.
Put pasta on to boil and while it’s cooking add the following ingredients to a frying pan: tuna packed in olive oil (drained), capers (drained), good quality olives (I like dried black Spanish or Kalamata), and olive oil. Heat through then add to hot, drained pasta. Toss until well mixed, adding enough oil to make pasta glossy but not soupy.
Then curl up on the couch with a steaming bowl of pasta, glass of wine, and a great movie.
What is your favorite pasta dish?
Maddalena’s Pasta with Tuna, Capers and Olives
8 ounce package of pasta (shells, penne, or spirals work well)
1 can tuna packed in olive oil, drained
1/4-1/2 cup capers, drained
1/4-1/2 cup olives (dried Spanish or Kalamatas are great)
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- In frying pan heat 2-3 Tbsp olive oil. Add tuna, capers and olives. Cook until heated through, stirring often.
- Drain cooked pasta and toss with tuna mixture. Add 2-3 Tbsp olive and mix until well incorporated. Serve hot.