Gluten Free Tuna Puttanesca with Pasta Recipe
Somehow in our household the “holiday season” (i.e. a period of time in which the unbridled eating of things that are sugary, fatty, and caloric takes place and is justified because it is “the holidays”) has slowly stretched from a month and a half (Thanksgiving to New Year’s) into almost 6 months!
It started off with the inclusion of Halloween (technically not a real holiday but a great excuse to eat candy) which added an extra month. Gradually “the holidays” began to include February – after all Valentine’s Day is all about chocolate, right? A week after Valentine’s Day is our wedding anniversary and a couple weeks after that is my birthday, it seems senseless to go on a diet until that’s all done with. But wait, then there is Easter…
This year our “holiday season” started at the end of October and would probably just keep on going until the Fourth of July if I didn’t do something. As our cholesterol levels soared, our waistlines thickened and our energy levels dropped, I knew it was time for a change.
In my experience, diets are doomed to failure. A few weeks of deprivation make us cranky, irritable, and quite frankly unfit for social encounters. The handful of pounds lost are quickly replaced as soon as the dreaded diet is over.
It was certainly time for a change but not for a diet. A regime of creative clean eating seemed more appropriate if we were going to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Rib eye steaks and scalloped potatoes have been replaced by tons of fresh veggies, lean, clean, organic protein and quinoa. M&M’s have been replaced with fresh blueberries. We are healthier, happier, and no one feels deprived.
While we are eating a more protein based diet these days, I know that if we are going to stay the course we need a few nights of carbs – it is just a fact of life in our house, we love our carbs!
Sensible carbs make more sense. Instead of our beloved fettuccini with alfredo sauce I treated us to a wiser choice of pasta – whole grain gluten free brown rice spaghetti with a tuna puttanesca sauce.
The sauce is simplicity itself. Made from pantry staples such as canned tomatoes, anchovies, and capers it is often my choice when returning home from a trip where the fridge is bare. Puttanesca sauce is a pasta sauce made famous by Italian women of the night – it is said that these illicit women could whip up a quick meal between engagements easily. On the more virtuous side of things, it is packed with flavor and a relatively clean meal that feels like a cheat. I up the protein factor by tossing in a couple cans of tuna packed in water and work some greens into the mix with a good portion of organic arugula.
There are many great tasting gluten free pastas available these days but they are not all created equally. Look for organic whole grain brown rice pasta with no added starch that is made with just whole grain brown rice flour and packed with fiber such as Pastariso Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti.
Man and woman do not live well on grilled chicken breasts and salad day in and day out. At our house these days we are moving more, eating better and feeling the difference. We still have our indulgences but they are smarter indulgences.
Like the name sake of this dish, this pasta feels naughty and yet it is somehow quite virtuous.
Gluten Free Tuna Puttanesca with Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound gluten free brown rice spaghetti
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 6 canned anchovies drained
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- ½ cup kalamata olives drained and chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (28 ounce) can low sodium diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 (6 ounce) cans white tuna packed in water, drained
- 3 cups organic baby arugula
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast or grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions.
- While the spaghetti cooks, make the sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic, cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the anchovies and cook, smashing them with the back of spoon until dissolved. Add the capers, olives, oregano, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add the tuna and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
- Reserve ½ cup of the starchy pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the pan, toss with the sauce until coated. Add the pasta water and cook for another minute. Add the arugula and nutritional yeast and cook for another minute or two or until the arugula is wilted, stir in the basil and serve.
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