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Trofie with Pesto, Tuna and Tomatoes

Feeds 4 modestly hungry people, 2 or 3 greedy ones

© by Matt Russell


  • Semola Di Gran Duro (semolina) 300 g (10½ oz/2 cups), plus extra for dusting
  • Warm Water 145 g (5 oz/²⁄₃ cup)
  • Pine Nuts 100 g (3½ oz/2/3 cup)
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Pecorino 30 g (1 oz), grated
  • Parmesan 30 g (1 oz), grated
  • Fresh Basil Leaves 2 large handfuls, plus extra to serve
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 70 ml (2½ fl oz/generous ¼ cup), plus extra for frying
  • Sea Salt
  • Small, Sweet Tomatoes 1 handful, sliced
  • Best-Quality Tinned Tuna 150 g (5¼ oz), halved

Cook It

  1. First, make your pasta. Mix the semolina and  warm water in a bowl until it comes together to form a rough dough. Take it out of the bowl and knead it on your worktop for 10 minutes or so, until you have an even, smooth dough. Wrap it in cling film (plastic wrap) and set it aside for half an hour while you make your pesto.
  2. Blitz the nuts, garlic and cheese in a blender or mini food processor until they form a rough breadcrumb consistency. Add the basil and blitz for a second or two more, then add the oil and salt and continue to mix until everything is incorporated. Do not blitz for too long as you do not want a completely smooth paste – a little texture is a good thing.
  3. Now shape your trofie. Break off small pieces of the dough, about the size of a hazelnut, and roll them into little twisted shapes. Set them aside on a clean, semolina-dusted baking (cookie) sheet.
  4. In a frying pan (skillet), soften your sliced tomatoes in a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir through the pesto and half of the tuna, taste for seasoning, and set aside ready for your pasta.
  5. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drop in your trofie and cook for a minute or two until they bob to the surface (if using bought pasta, follow the cooking instructions on the packet). Fish them out using a slotted spoon and place them straight into the pan with the sauce. Place this pan over the heat, add a small ladle of the pasta cooking water and toss your pasta and sauce by holding the pan and flicking your wrist, until it is well combined and beautifully saucy. Serve with the rest of the tuna and a scattering of basil leaves.


Recipe excerpted from Bitter Honey: Recipes and Stories from Sardinia by Letitia Clark © 2020 Reproduced by permission of Hardie Grant. All rights reserved.

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