Linguine with Fresh Tuna and Sweet-and-Sour Tomato Sauce


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh tuna steaks, 3/4-inch thick
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb (about 3/4 pound), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups canned tomatoes with juice (28 ounce can), chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 pound linguine


Season the tuna steaks with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat until very hot. Add the tuna steaks and cook until the outside is brown but the center is still rare, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Alternatively, cook the tuna on an outdoor grill.

Heat a large frying pan over moderate heat. Add the pine nuts and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in the frying pan. Add the onion, celery and fennel. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook until almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes and juice, sugar, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is very soft, about 30 minutes. Add the olives and raisins. Cook 15 minutes longer. If the sauce gets too thick, stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons water.

Just before serving add the tuna steaks. Warm over moderate heat, breaking the tuna into bite-size pieces, about 2 minutes. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the pine nuts.

Serves 4