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Alone in the kitchen – Tuna Pasta


On my birthday a friend gave me a book called “Alone in the kitchen with an eggplant” as a present. It’s a book about people who have to cook for one and their lone habits, but not having a boyfriend when she gave it to me I was a little bemused.

Cue 2 weeks later and the book is one of the funniest things I have read in the past few months with its meticulous portraits of the deep relationship there is between each individual and food.

People who are famous for their luxurious dinner parties that only eat cereal out of a box when alone. Others who don’t cook anything but rice and beans. And those who face eating at a restaurant alone without fear.

It’s made me think about my relationship with food when I’m really alone and not trying to force feed friends and colleagues and it is a varied one I must admit.

I cherish Saturday lunches on my own, sat at a corner table, reading a book and sipping on a glass of wine quietly – They’re very much my own time and I grab them as often as I can.

Then there are the nights when the housemates are all out and then I experiment and put together a complicated meal just for myself. A 3-course meal if it’s a Friday or Saturday night, as a matter of fact.

But then there are nights when I’m feeling a bit gloom, tired after a long day of work and no one is around to have a rant with and on those nights I make my real “alone in the kitchen with an eggplant” dish – A big bowl of tuna pasta.

I made it for 4 years of university every other night mainly because it was cheap and easy. I have now improved the recipe and reserve it to myself only, but it’s so tasty and easy that it’s like sitting on the couch telling an old friend all my woes.

Here’s the recipe, but what’s your “AITKWAE” behaviour? Do you like time alone with your cooking utensils or do you suffer when no one is around? And, more importantly, what and how do you eat then?

Serves 1

  • 125g of penne
  • Half red onion finely chopped
  • 1 anchovy fillet (optional)
  • 1 large glass white wine
  • Half can chopped tomatoes
  • Half cup sliced green olives
  • 80g tin tuna in brine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Heat up a tbsp of olive oil in a deep pan, add the onion and the anchovy fillet and and let cook for about 4 minutes on a low heat or until the onion is translucent and the anchovy dissolved.

Turn up the heat, add the wine and let it evaporate slightly (1 minute). Add the tomatoes, turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for half an hour and turn off.

Put a pan of water on a high heat, add a little salt (to taste) and bring it to the boil, pour in the pasta and cook for a couple of minutes less than indicated on the package making sure you stir it for the first minute to avoid it sticking together.

Add 4 tbsp of the pasta water to the sauce as well as the tuna and olives and turn the heat back on low under it.

Drain the pasta, mix it into the sauce pan and finish cooking at a medium heat for a couple of minutes stirring continuously.

Plate up, add a nice splash of extra virgin olive oil and… Buon appetito!

About Carla

Carla Spuri has written 34 posts on this blog.

I'm practical, I have a seriously mixed up cultural background and I love food.

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  1. I can certainly relate to eating tuna and pasta all through college but have since never gone back to the recipe – it was a just a little more basic than that and no where near as nice.

    When I’m on my own I nearly always have one nigtht when I’ll spend hours making a big meal – something like a korma or roast (yes, a roast for one with all the trimmings).

    Other times I’ll just go for simple things, usually involving toast! This leaves me more time to get on with other important things like watching tv, movies or going online!

    I’d also be interested to hear what others get up to!?

  2. AITKWAE: I like to be self indulgent but always feel constrained by what needs eating up in the fridge.
    The simplest solution for supper, and my fall back, is to make a big curry ( Richard likes only the mildest variety so we rarely have curry) with all the trimmings, and then to put my feast on a tray and devour it in front of the TV in the sitting room! This can last me several days and improves with keeping. My favourite home alone lunch is a glass of bubbly with smoked salmon sandwiches, in home made multi grain bread and stuffed with a rocket salad.
    I enjoy my time “home alone” but honestly when it comes to cooking my pleasure is in sharing the results. All those left overs for one, that I have salted away in the deep freeze, come in very useful. I generally cannot be bothered cooking on my own behalf.
    Eating out alone remains a problem; it is worth the expense of a full menu when there’s little chance of a post mortem, I don’t think so. Perhaps if I considered writing reviews for FFFY the experience might come alive, I will try it out sometime. Fortunately I have now left any embarrassment of eating alone behind me. As a young adult self consciousness plagued my life, now I people watch or read, which ever is most appropriate at the time. As a reviewer I could have a discrete camera and a notebook to hand; the idea gets more and more appealing.
    So there you have it, my life revolves around food, every meal gives us pleasure, but it is that human thing of sharing that adds more than seasoning.

  3. This looks totally amazing – great pic too. Definately going to give this one a try! I also might check the book out you mention as it looks very amusing :-)

  4. this recipe is dead easy n super yummy thx keep d good work up!!!


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