Monday, March 12, 2007

9-minute tuna pasta

We had friends from the UK this weekend and spent most of it sightseeing and eating out, which meant very little cooking. However, a late start to the day today meant a late breakfast and therefore, a very late lunch. We all got hungry around 3:30pm however being a Monday* in Paris meant that some restaurants were either closed, or the lunch hour was over. Not even Pizza Hut’s lunch service was still open (we tried!). And McDonalds was definitely out of the question – urggghhh.

Having only 1 hour until our friends had to leave for the Eurostar, we had to find decent food fast (and sandwiches weren’t going to do the job here!)! Hence, we headed back to our place for a speedy meal.

I have to say, I’m a lazy cook and love being able to throw everything into 1 saucepan or pot to produce something both tasty and edible at the end. (I’m also pretty crap at food presentation but that’s a whole other issue!)

Anyway, being in a rush today and not having planned on cooking a meal, I didn’t have much at all in my fridge, so tuna pasta was the quickest solution.

Here’s my solution to 4 hungry people needing sustenance immediately:

  • Spaghetti or any other type of pasta for 4 people
  • 4 tomatoes diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • Minced garlic to taste (I used about 3 BIG cloves – I love garlic)
  • 2 256g cans of tuna (Don’t ask me why the cans were 256g and not something “round” like 250 or 200g!)
  • Broccoli or zucchini chopped into small pieces
  • 1tbs tomato paste
  • ½ cup light cream (add more if you prefer a creamier sauce)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Boil water in a saucepan, add the spaghetti or pasta, cook to al dente and drain (takes roughly 7 minutes). When I was young, my dad used to tell me that if you took the spaghetti and threw it against the wall and it stuck there, it was cooked! Needless to say, my mum wasn’t very impressed when she saw spaghetti stuck to the walls of her kitchen! Anyway, I’m digressing…

While the pasta is boiling, brown the onion in a saucepan over a low fire until translucent and fragrant (2 minutes). Add the garlic and brown slightly (1.5 minutes). My French father-in-law (who’s a great cook) tells me that garlic should not be sautéed for too long otherwise it gets bitter (something like that anyway). However, I actually like my garlic sautéed until it’s brown. In Malaysia, we cooked garlic in oil until it was nice and brown, and then used the “garlic sauce” as a condiment for jook. Digressing again…

Add the diced tomatoes and cook until soft (2 minutes). Mix the tomato paste and tuna into the saucepan and cook till slightly bubbling (1 minute). Add the vegetables and heat until tender (I like my vegetables crunchy so this usually takes about 2 minutes). Lastly, add the cream and the salt and pepper. If the sauce is too dry, add a little water.
I then usually throw in the drained pasta and mix well with the sauce.

And voila, roughly 9 minutes later, a meal for 4!

* In France, some shops and restaurants close on Monday if they’ve been open on Saturday.


  1. I've had a bad experience with Eurostar many years back while travelling from London to Paris. The train itself is comfy...but the service sucks!

    I'm one lazy cook too! I love those throw-everything-into-a-pot (a.k.a witch's method) and yet hopeful for something tasty and yummy :D

  2. 9 minutes is a lot of time to spend on tuna! :) It looks nutritious, though, with all those yummy vegetables!

  3. Hehe - I love canned tuna so I could even spend more time on it!

  4. And Tigerfish, I totally agree, most of the time, service on the Eurostar sucks, but it's so convenient to be able to hop on the train and be in London 2.5 hours later!

  5. looks scrumptious! how your friends enjoyed.

  6. me too, I love buying those white tuna bumble bee tiny cans, and just eat it like that, with bread or on pastry cups..ahh, what a delight. Although, side tracked bit here, not v/good if you're preggie 'k..hehe ? Due to the high level of mercury. Congratulations on your move. My best friend's moving there soon too :( You must be excited !:)

  7. Tuna bumble bee cans? Sounds cute - are they flavoured/spiced canned tuna?
    As for the move - I'm not really excited anymore - just tired! We have so much junk!


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