Cooking with Maria, the only fisherwoman on the island of Procida, just a stone’s throw from Naples, inspired this dish. I love the way she uses pecorino as a seasoning, which is contrary to the ‘no cheese and fish’ rule, while the crushed almonds give texture, creaminess and depth of flavour. To make this recipe sing like Pavarotti, you really need baby or crunchy courgettes, so it’s best made in the summer.
Total time: 20 minutes
- 50g whole almonds
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 anchovy fillets in oil
- olive oil
- 300g dried fettuccine or linguine
- 4 baby courgettes (zucchini), with flowers
- 300g yellowfin tuna, from sustainable sources
- 1 x 400g tin of quality cherry tomatoes
- 1 lemon
- 30g pecorino cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
Lightly toast the almonds in a large frying pan on a medium heat, then tip into a pestle and mortar, leaving the pan on the heat. Peel the onion and garlic, finely chop with the anchovies and add to the pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry for 4 minutes, stirring regularly.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Slice the courgettes ½ cm thick, reserving the flowers, chop the tuna into rough 1cm dice, then stir both into the frying pan. Scrunch in the tomatoes through your clean hands, squeeze over the lemon juice and leave to tick away, stirring regularly. Finely grate the pecorino. Pound the almonds until fine.
Once cooked, use tongs to drag the pasta straight into the frying pan, letting some starchy cooking water go with it. Toss together, then turn the heat off, tear in the courgette flowers and toss in the pecorino and most of the almonds. Check the seasoning, loosen with an extra splash of cooking water, if needed, and serve, sprinkled with the remaining almonds, finished with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Sat Fat: 4.5g
Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2018 Jamie Cooks Italy), photography: David Loftus.