A devil of a pasta dish


This recipe was inspired by a similar "diablo" (devil) pasta dish in the wonderful revised edition of The North End Italian Cookbook, by Marguerite Buonopane (the Globe Pequot Press, $16.95). Inspired is a pretty good word, too, because as great as this dish looked, I had just a few of the ingredients called for.

But winging it is a legitimate approach for stove-top sautes based on pasta. Find similar ingredients. In this case, Buonopane's recipe called for dried oregano (I substituted dried Italian seasoning), a red onion (shallots) and four kinds of fish (are you kidding? I defrosted two frozen tuna steaks in the microwave).

It also called for hot sauce and mushrooms. There was nothing even close, so I substituted wine and baby spinach leaves. I did have the red-pepper flakes it required, so - in lieu of the absent hot sauce - I doubled the amount to give this dish its "diablo-ness."

Oh, one more tip when embarking on creative interpretations: If it doesn't turn out, frozen pizza is a fine stand-in. I like to think that's why it was invented.


To make this a vegetarian dish, substitute two large, coarsely chopped portobello mushrooms for the tuna, and add it with the tomatoes and wine.


Tuna diablo

Radicchio and greens

Italian bread

Devil's food cake


Tuna Diablo

Preparation time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 10 minutes

Makes 4 servings

1/2 pound vermicelli

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 shallots or 1/2 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon each: dried Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

freshly ground black pepper

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes

1/4 cup dry red wine such as chianti or malbec

2 tuna steaks, about 8 ounces each, sliced

1 package (10 ounces) baby spinach leaves

parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Heat salted water to a boil in a stockpot; add pasta. Cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic, bell pepper, Italian seasoning, pepper flakes, salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and shallots have softened, about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes and wine; cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add tuna; cook, stirring occasionally, until fish is opaque, about 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Drain pasta; divide into 4 bowls. Top with tuna and sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan, if desired.

Per serving: 518 calories; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 47 milligrams cholesterol; 66 grams carbohydrate; 40 grams protein; 1,110 milligrams sodium; 4 grams fiber

-- Recipe and analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper

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