Richard Blais’ Moroccan Tuna Bolognese


3 6- to 8-oz. tuna steaks
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely minced
1 stalk celery, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Tbsp. Moroccan spice blend or 1 tsp. each ground coriander, cumin and cinnamon
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup dry sherry or red wine
2 cups tomato sauce
¼ cup pitted Picholine or other green olives, roughly chopped
2 tsp. grated orange zest, plus more for garnish
1 lb. linguine
Juice of half a lemon
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup mixed fresh dill, parsley and basil, chopped


• Grind or very finely mince 1 tuna steak. Cut the other 2 steaks into ½-inch chunks.
• In a large deep heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until rippling. Add the tuna and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon and stirring vigorously until it’s no longer pink and begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the tuna with a slotted spoon and set aside.
• Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan and saute, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, Moroccan spices, bay leaf, salt and pepper, stir and cook for 2 minutes to toast the spices. Add the tomato paste and cook and stir until it begins to caramelize, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and sherry, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
• Add the tomato sauce and cooked tuna and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the sauce is very thick, 25 to 30 minutes.
• Stir in the tuna chunks, green olives and orange zest, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, stir well, and taste to adjust the seasoning.
• Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well. Add the linguine, stir and cook until al dente, 9 to 10 minutes. Remove ½ cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.
• Add the pasta to the sauce, then add the lemon juice and half the feta and herbs. Toss the pasta with the sauce until well coated. If the sauce is very thick, add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until loosened.
• To serve, transfer the pasta to warm shallow bowls or a large platter. Sprinkle the remaining feta and herbs and some orange zest over the pasta and serve.

Reprinted with permission by Clarkson Potter Publishers

Tags : Pasta , Italian , Tuna