It’s Sunday and the end of the month, when funds are pretty low (well, it WAS the last day of the solden season in Belgium). I’ve been eating my version of adobo leftovers for the past week and there’s still some remaining. My lazy heart rebelled against cooking another batch of rice just to eat the nth portion of adobo, so I just opened my cupboard and did a cursory check on what was available.
Can of tuna-in-brine. Can of paprika (that’s sweet bell pepper for you!)-tomato omelette mix. Tomato sauce.
A eureka moment! With those ingredients (and the usual condiments, plus my citroensap), I pieced together this potential comfort-food (or lazy Sunday) recipe…
Quick Tuna-Paprika Pasta
- 1 can tuna flakes in brine, drained
- 1 can paprika-tomato omelette mix
- ¼ bric tomato sauce
- Salt, pepper, dried minced onion
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cube chicken bouillon
- A knob of butter or 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Any kind of cooked pasta (follow manufacturer’s directions)
- Melt knob of butter in a pan with the stove on medium-high. Add the minced garlic and other condiments, except for salt.
- Add the drained tuna flakes in seasoned-butter mixture. Do a quick saute. Add the lemon juice.
- Add the paprika-tomato omelette mix. Stir and let simmer.
- Add the ¼ bric tomato sauce and mix. Let everything simmer until the liquid thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking (add a bit of salt or pepper, perhaps?)
- Remove from heat. Spoon amount of sauce on a serving of cooked pasta. Serve with warm toasted garlic bread.
Results and Discussion
Lemon juice again? Why, of course! Tuna is fish…and the lemon juice is there to remove that “fishy” aftertaste. Not for flavoring.
Which do I use: butter or oil? The choice is up to you. A better version of this would use virgin olive oil instead of butter—however, I only have extra virgin olive oil, which is too delicate for cooking. Butter gives that rich taste to food that is light-textured, like fish, but is balanced off by the tart acidity of lemon and the tomatoes from the paprika mix.
Omelette mix? The Belgians here apparently love omelettes with sweet peppers, tomatoes and onions (I guess French influence?), so they sell these already-seasoned mixes in cans. I love these cooking lifesavers!
There isn’t a lazy flavor to this dish—the fruity tartness of the tomatoes and lemon dancing at the tip of your tongue balances the meaty tuna background, which will always be there, substantial and concrete. It’s an active contrast for a simple and quick meal, making each bite interesting. Aside from the taste, its simplicity for a Sunday lunch-for-one (with enough leftover sauce for another pasta day) wins my lazy-daisy heart.
OK, enough cooking and writing about this for now. I’ll spend the rest of my Sunday curled on my bed, reading a novel. *waves*