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Penne with Fresh Seared Tuna & Zucchini Flowers

An easy and light summer pasta. There are a few parts to it, but I do it all in one pan so the clean up is simple. If you like, prepare most of the ingredients in advance and throw them in at the last minute when you have boiled the pasta. Serves 4 to 6.

3 tablespoons salted capers, washed and dried
8 French shallots, peeled and roughly chopped into bite size pieces
8 zucchini flowers, halved lengthwise
Extra virgin olive oil
400g Penne
2 x 2.5cm thick pieces tuna steaks
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (only the yellow, do not use the bitter white pith)
3 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

1. Prepare the components. Use a non-stick frying pan that will be large enough to later accommodate the tuna steaks. I recommend using a drizzle of spicy extra virgin olive oil for the sautéing below.

The Shallots: Start these first with a cold fry pan, drizzle a little olive oil, add shallots and cook slowly until caramelised, about 8 minutes. Remove the shallots from the pan and set aside.

The Zucchini Flowers: Lightly sauté zucchini flowers, about 2 minutes and set them aside.

The Capers: Fry capers for a few minutes until crisp. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper and set aside.

2. Cook the penne in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente.

3. A few minutes before the pasta is cooked drizzle frying pan with a little olive oil and, when almost smoking hot, sear the tuna for about 1 minute a side. When done, cut tuna into bite size chunks. Set aside.

4. Drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. Carefully toss tuna, zucchini flowers, shallots, capers, parsley, lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil through the cooked pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Optional Tip/Tricks:
– Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the shallots to speed caramelisation.
– use regular small zucchini, sliced into 1 cm rounds.