After living with my parents for the last year and half, I forgot how difficult it is to cook for just yourself. Aside from it being a little lonely (I like to cook for other people!), it takes a lot of planning and coordination. Grocery shopping for one is an artform that could take years to master. Even though I lived in NYC alone for almost three years, I am a bit dusty in the solo-cooking category-- evidenced by the near-rotting produce every week in my vegetable box since moving into my studio.
But if you're as anal as I am about not wasting food, then you've gotta figure out how to use it without having gastro-intestinal issues later, right?
Inspired by Yoko's post on canned fish last week, I made one of my favorite lazy dishes, tuna pasta. I learned to make this while living in the dorms in Italy-- it's the epitome of a low-budget meal, and it tastes so friggin' good!
My current obsession is arugula, and I try to eat it with everything. I will even just eat it right out of the bag. The bitterness really makes it taste nutritious, don't you think?
However, it's still pretty hard to go through a bag of it from Trader Joe's (only $2!) before it starts to yellow.
Fresh sweet green peas. These were probably in the fridge for about two weeks and by the time I decided to use them, there were all of these black streaks on the pods. I thought they were unusable for sure, but when I opened them up, they were fine.
See how they're a little shriveled up? I took them out and soaked in water overnight, which seemed to bring them back to life.
Slice onions, garlic and grape tomatoes. The tomatoes were on their way out.
Secret weapon: Tuna packed in olive oil from Italy. I keep a stash of these in my cupboard and use in emergencies. Canned tuna from Italy and Spain is the BEST-- cannot beat the quality, texture and taste. I lugged more than a few cases of these from when I went to Rome in 2007.
Important step: Use the olive oil from the tuna can to sautee the vegetables. The tuna infused flavor is vital. Plus, why waste perfectly good olive oil?
Add the garlic, onions, tomatoes and peas over medium heat. Salt and pepper.
Once the onions are cooked down, add the tuna, and some white wine if you desire.
Let tuna simmer for a bit, then add arugula. This should be the very last thing you do.
Sautee until the arugula has wilted down.
That's it! I boiled pasta while I was cooking, and just scooped some of the arugula/tuna mixture over it like a sauce.
I usually just make this dish with just tomato, onions, garlic and tuna. The arugula and peas were last-minute additions I made just to avoid having to throw them out. As horrible as this may sound, I appreciate near-rotting vegetables if only because it forces me to think of creative ways to use them.
PS- I did NOT get the runs after eating this meal.