The Great Franco-Italian Pasta Experiment
Thirty minutes, minimal prep, and one plate—that’s all you need to serve a deliriously perfect dish that puts a niçoise twist on spaghetti
There’s a big difference between the fast, forgettable pasta you make at home (butter, cheese, a half-full box of penne) and the transcendent, labor intensive pasta you order at a restaurant (hand-rolled, topped with $700 worth of ingredients).
At New York’s Lafayette, chef Andrew Carmellini took his inspiration from seafood-loving Southern France rather than porkheavy Southern Italy and created a singular pasta dish that’s unabashedly in the transcendent category: spaghetti niçoise. At its heart is the Platonic ideal of al dente homemade pasta, dotted with punchy black olives, sweetened with roasted tomatoes and red peppers, and dense with chunks of tuna belly poached in herbs and olive oil. Then it’s all draped with yet more tuna—raw pink slices of the stuff.
It’s a magical dish to order, but to re-create at home? “Yeah, I’m not gonna do that,” says Carmellini, laughing. “That’s the last thing I want to do after work.”
Instead, make spaghetti niçoise the way the chef himself does when he’s off-duty, using a box of top-shelf dry pasta and a nice jar of Italian tuna packed in olive oil. “I could eat this dish every day,” says Carmellini. Warning: You’ll probably want to.
Spaghetti Niçoise with Tuna
Serves 4 to 6
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
1/4 c. sliced red onion
1 jar tuna in olive oil
1 c. niçoise olives, halved lengthwise
1/4 c. capers
1/2 c. sweet roasted red peppers, chopped
2 tsp. dried Sicilian oregano
2 Tbsp. anchovy paste
1 lb. spaghetti
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. toasted breadcrumbs
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 400. In a mixing bowl, dress the tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste. Spread them out on a baking sheet. Roast until caramelized, about 10 minutes..
2. In a large sauté pan, sweat the onion in the remaining olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the tomatoes, tuna (with the oil from the jar), olives, capers, peppers, oregano, and anchovy paste and mix well.
3. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot until al dente. Use tongs to lift it into the niçoise-sauce pan, allowing some water to come along. Toss the noodles to coat, add the lemon zest and butter, and toss again.
4. Plate the pasta and garnish with the breadcrumbs and parsley.
Source: gqRecipe: Spaghetti Niçoise with Tuna and Olive Oil,