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Moroccan Pasta with Grilled Tuna


Serves 6

  • To learn more, read:
    Cool Pastas to Make Ahead
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 39

Bold Moroccan flavors—cumin, cayenne, garlic, cilantro, lemon—make this cool pasta a natural partner for grilled or seared tuna. You can either serve this with grilled tuna on top, garnished with a few extra cilantro leaves and lemon wedges, or break the tuna into chunks and mix it right in.

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. dried fusilli pasta
  • 10 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup packed chopped cilantro leaves, plus 1/4 cup whole cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. fresh tuna (about 1 inch thick)
  • Lemon wedges as a garnish

In a large pot, bring 6 qt. water and 2 Tbs. salt to a boil. Add the fusilli and cook until al dente, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss it immediately with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Let the pasta cool completely in the refrigerator.

Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-hot. In a blender or food processor, purée the cumin, paprika, turmeric, cayenne, garlic, onion, the chopped cilantro, the parsley, lemon juice, 8 Tbs. of the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Put the mixture in a large bowl.

Brush the tuna with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, and grill it over a medium-hot fire for 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally until it’s cooked to the doneness you like. Remove from the grill. When the tuna is cool enough to handle, slice it into strips or break it into 1-inch pieces.

Add the fusilli to the sauce and toss to combine thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put the salad in a serving bowl and garnish with the tuna, the whole cilantro leaves, and the lemon wedges.

Make Ahead Tips

The fusili can be tossed with the sauce and held in the refrigerator for several hours. Let it come to room temperature before garnishing with the tuna, cilantro, and lemon wedges.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 500, Fat Calories (kcal): 220, Fat (g): 24, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17, Cholesterol (mg): 35, Sodium (mg): 230, Carbohydrates (g): 44, Fiber (g): 3, Protein (g): 24

Photo: France Ruffenach

This recipe really appealed to me but we just didn't like it. I made it as written, except for omitting the turmeric and garnishing with chopped Moroccan-style preserved lemon peel in addition to the tuna. I won't save this one.

Flavorful and summery. I was short on lemons so used lemon olive oil on the pasta. I'll definitely make this again. Also substituted salmon for tuna as we prefer it.

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