Conchiglie Pasta With Pesto And Tuna
Conchiglie is a bit of an odd pasta shape to pair with pesto. It's more suited to thick, tomato-based sauces like puttanesca, thanks to its ability to grab hold of chunky ingredients and store them in its cavity. However, we have a soft spot for its conch shell shape when we're serving it with fish, so here we're pairing it with pesto without an ounce of guilt.
As for the chicken of the sea, the Ferrari of the ocean, or whatever other stupid name people call it, we're big fans of tinned tuna. In fact, there are plenty of occasions (a pasta bake being one) where the tinned stuff is actively recommended over fresh.
However, our all-time favourite way to eat tuna is mi-cuit (meaning "partially cooked"). By drowning it in plenty of top-quality olive oil and placing it in a low temperature (40°C) water-bath, after about 25 minutes it's just warmed through but still effectively raw. The added fat is decadent but non-negotiable.
We find that shop-bought sun-dried tomatoes are excessively oily and often dried so much that their skins become shrivelled and are rather unpleasant to eat. Our solution is to lightly dehydrate them ourselves which allows us to be in control of when they are done exactly to our liking. Get the timing just right and they have a sweet, jammy mouthfeel that puts the supermarket stuff to shame.
Ingredients for two
Salt a pan of water, bring it to a rolling boil and add the pasta. Set your timer for 10 minutes (or according to pack instructions).
Whilst the conchiglie is cooking, drain the sun-dried tomatoes and blot with kitchen roll to remove excess oil.
Rinse the capers in running cold water to remove excess salt. Deep-fry them if you can be bothered. This will give them a crispy skin which adds an interested texture to the dish.
Zest half of the lemon and then cut the other half into two wedges.
When the pasta is perfectly al dente, take a tablespoon of the starchy water and add it to your pesto. Mix the pasta, pesto, tuna and sun-dried tomatoes together.
Serve with a wedge of lemon and garnish with lemon zest, capers, Parmesan and pine nuts.