For crunch, I used some celery (you could use fresh bell peppers or turnip or jicama or what have you ...) and I had some scallions and dill in the fridge, so they got thrown in for freshness. Finally, I tossed in some capers for tang (try olives, giardinera or pickled onions) and chopped almonds (sub in breadcrumbs or toasted pinenuts) for crunch.
This recipe is a common fall-back for me: it's easy to adjust based on what I have on hand, and it's fast (by the time the pasta ia cooked it's just about finished). I looked back through my archive and found this tuna and bean salad (which is basically this dish, sans pasta). Here's a version where I used orzo (violating my chunky pasta rule).
So, at the risk of repeating myself, here's how you do it:
Pasta with Tuna and Beans
- 1 pound pasta
- 1 8 ounce jar of oil-packed tuna, or 2 cans of tuna (olive-oil packed is best, but water-packed is ok)
- 4 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 can of beans
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 2 handfuls chopped dill
- 1 handful chopped toasted almonds
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce: Saute the celery until a little softened. Add the beans, capers and scallions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it (reserving about a cup of cooking water) and add two-thirds of the pasta to the skillet (you may not need it all - add more until you have a pleasing combination of pasta and the other ingredients). Toss in the dill and almonds. Heat everything together, drizzling in a little cooking water to make the dish saucier if needed.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot or warm.
Any leftover pasta can be used in a frittata.