Pasta Toss with Tuna & Vegetables

About a week ago, Lis posted a gorgeous recipe on her blog for Pasta Shells with Italian Tuna, Grape Tomatoes & Baby Spinach. After wiping the drool from my lips, I knew I had to make it.

The only thing was that when I entered it into the WW points calculator, it said one serving equalled half my daily calorie allotment.

Now, it’s not that I won’t eat most my calories in on fell swoop. But I knew this recipe could be easily adapted for a lower calorie count and still be delicious and satisfying. (Also, I need to save mega calories for sweet splurges like the chocolate peanut butter milkshakes at Abbott’s Custard.)

So, I first increased the total servings from four to six. Then, I swapped the traditional pasta for the whole wheat variety (I couldn’t find whole wheat shell pasta, so I used rotini). Finally, I switched the Italian tuna packed in olive oil for tuna packed in water, though I used the kind that comes in a vacuum sealed pack rather than in a can. (Don’t worry, not ALL the oil is eliminated.)

The result is an enticing dish, perfect for casual-yet-elegant al fresco dining.
I love that it’s served warm yet is still light enough for warmer weather.

Pasta Toss with Tuna & Vegetables adapted from Lis’ Pasta Shells with Italian Tuna, Grape Tomatoes & Baby Spinach

12 oz. whole wheat pasta (such as rotini or shells)
2 tsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling to taste 2 garlic cloves, minced (or more to taste)
13 oz. albacore tuna packed in water, drained
1 10.5 oz. can of artichoke hearts, drained and cut in quarters
1 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 bag of fresh baby spinach, about 6 oz.
1/4 c. of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and follow the directions for cooking the pasta as listed on the box. When water comes to boil, salt it generously, then cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.

Just after adding the pasta to the boiling water, heat 2 tsp. of olive oil over medium low to medium heat in a skillet large enough to incorporate all the ingredients (including the cooked pasta). Add garlic and saute until lightly golden. Add the tuna with the oil, artichoke hearts & tomatoes, sauteing until the tomato skins slightly wrinkle, about 3 minutes.

Just before your pasta is ready, add the baby spinach to the tuna mixture, folding in until the spinach is wilted.

Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water to make the sauce, and place the pasta in the skillet with the other ingredients. Then, sprinkle the Pecorino over everything and stir until well combined. If it’s a bit dry, add a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of pasta water to the dish and stir. (Be careful not to use too much water or oil — the dish shouldn’t be too “wet.”)

Finish the with a sprinkling of fresh pepper and some additional Pecorino Romano.

Serves 6.

Categories: Entrees, Grade Range: A- to A+, Lighter Fare, Pasta


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