Penne alla Cesare (Caesar Salad Pasta)

Everything in a Caesar salad is in this pasta: croutons, romaine, lemon, garlic and even anchovy (though you can omit it if you're not a fan). I also add canned tuna to heighten the fish flavor and give it great texture. Sometimes I splurge and buy European tuna in a glass jar, but ordinary tuna will work just fine. Make sure all your ingredients are ready before you start cooking the pasta.

Recipe by Rori Trovato; photo by Luca Trovato

Penne alla Cesare (Caesar Salad Pasta)

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    1/2 cup olive oil, divided Parmesan cheese curls, made with a vegetable peeler, for garnish
    2 slices rustic bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into 1-inch strips
    1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 tablespoon anchovy paste (optional)
    3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 large can tuna, about 3/4 cup, broken into pieces
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and zest of 1 lemon
    1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided 1 pound whole wheat or regular penne pasta
    1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese, divided


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    • 1

      In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the bread and turn often so it doesn't burn. Add the oregano, one clove of the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Continue to cook until toasted and lightly brown. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and, with a slotted spoon, remove the croutons onto a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Don't wipe out the pan; it will be used later to finish the pasta.

    • 2

      Meanwhile, place the pan back on the burner over medium high heat. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and when heated, add the lettuce, remaining garlic and the anchovy, if using. Cook until the lettuce is wilted. Add the tuna, lemon juice and zest and remaining salt and pepper.

    • 3

      Strain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Add the strained pasta to the pan and toss well. If more moisture is desired, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water at a time. Plate the pasta, top with croutons and sprinkle with remaining grated parmesan cheese and cheese curls. Serve at once.

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