Tuna and White Bean Pasta with Gremolata Bread Crumbs
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 6 flat filet anchovies (optional)
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup breadcrumbs, toast and grind stale bread or store-bought (Tip! Save bread ends until you have a bunch, then toast and grind)
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 pound penne or ziti rigate
- 4 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 can white beans (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine, white vermouth or chicken broth
- 2 cans each Italian tuna in oil or water (6 ounces each), drained
- 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped or 1 can diced tomatoes (15 ounces), drained (optional)
Heat 4 tablespoons EVOO in small pan over medium-low heat with the anchovies, if using. Melt the anchovies into the EVOO until they dissolve, then add the garlic, stir for 2 minutes, then add the breadcrumbs and stir and cook until deeply golden in color. Stir in the lemon zest and parsley and crushed red pepper flakes. Turn off the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Heat a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan. Add the celery, onions and two cloves garlic to the pan and cook until just tender, 5 minutes. Add the white beans and rosemary and heat through, 2-3 minutes more. Add the wine, vermouth or broth, flaked tuna and tomato, if using. Stir for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Just before draining the pasta, add a ladle of starchy cooking water to the pan along with the drained pasta. Toss to combine. Serve in shallow bowls with lots of breadcrumbs and a drizzle of oil on top.