Pasta al Tonno
Most couples have a song. Roberto and I have a pasta dish. It's not something we make all the time. It's an understudy of sorts. When we've exhausted marinara, pesto, carbonara, aglio e olio, etc., etc., etc., pasta al tonno takes center stage.
I love the smell of the garlic and olive oil over a low flame. Ladles of pasta water to keep things loose. Bubbles and bubbles dancing around the rim of the pan. Parsley swimming about with flecks of red pepper. The tuna warming and co-mingling with tiny bits of onion.
I'll always hold a certain affection for this dish. It was the first thing Roberto ever cooked for me. My perception and understanding of food changed forever because of it. The first bite was like nothing I had ever experienced.
The behaviors and dynamic in the kitchen of an Italian household are unique. While I'm not Italian I have adopted this lifestyle for myself. I chose it...or did it choose me? Maybe we just found eachother, Roberto was the catalyst. His energy in the kitchen, his skill and the history of those before him show up in each and every dish he touches. I'm lucky enough to witness it, lucky enough to absorb it. I'm learning.
People ask me 'How can you eat pasta every day?' I honestly don't have an answer. I just do. It's what we do. It's like oxygen. It gives life to our tired blood. It fuels us. Awakens our spirits. It's the canvas with which we are able to paint our kitchen story.
I can't think of a better way to bring a group of people together than a big bowl of pasta sitting front and center, family style, at the kitchen table. 'Mangia! Mangia!' as I refill their glasses of wine. And when the bowl is empty and everyone is looking for an inconspicuous or conspicuous way to wipe their plates clean we'll ask them if they're ready for secondo. It's all smiles, just unadulterated happiness.
I get chills just thinking about it.