Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

Penne with Tuna and Fennel

This is just one of those really quick dishes that always hit the spot. Before getting onto how to make it, I would like to make a statement. Low-carb diets can go to hell. Seriously. How can you live with no/little bread or pasta or fruits!

I went to Holland Village today with a friend and bought two loaves of freshly baked Swiss Bake bread (I have always found Swiss Bake to be decent.) One of them happened to be the most fantastic loaf of rye bread I have ever had (really for $7, it’d better be.) The texture and flavour were just so wonderful that I thought wow I can’t believe I’m enjoying a piece of bread this much. Anyway! I’m definitely digressing this time.

You can make this in about 10 minutes. In go two handfuls of penne in a pot of salted boiling water. In goes some olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. While waiting for the oil to warm up, clean and slice a bulb of baby fennel (or a quarter of a normal-sized fennler – you need about 1/2 a cup of sliced fennel), reserving the funky green top for garnish later. Toss the fennel slices to cook in the olive oil on medium heat until soften – this takes about 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile open a small can of chunky tuna in brine (you can use tuna in oil or in spring water, up to you. I personally like oil but you know, I should attempt to be healthy sometimes. Unfortunately, not healthy enough to go for the spring water option). Make sure you buy chunky tuna (not sandwich tuna) so you get actualy tuna and not some leftover flakes.

Toss in a third of a jar of Leggo’s Stir Through pasta sauce (I think the sun-dried tomato one is best but any tomato-based one is good) into the cooking fennel with some tuna and a tablespoon of chopped semi-dried tomatoes and a tablespoon of chopped black Spanish olives (both of which I didn’t have when I made it this time but they make the whole thing much nicer) Stir through and let it simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Add plenty of freshly ground pepper. By now your pasta should be ready. So drain it, chuck it on a plate. Top with the tuna and fennel sauce. Top with the sauce with some more tuna chunks. Top the tuna chunks with the reserved fennel top. If you like to add a bit of a kick to it, scatter some rocket leaves on top. Totally ace.

Quick eh? A bit of a cheat but still really good.


I found some more photos of this dish that I did back in 2006.