This is David Pasternack's magical recipe as adapted from the Esca cookbook. Pasternack writes: "I love a classic Bolognese sauce. But in a creative moment, I figured...I might as well see what a Bolognese would taste like made with tuna instead of meat. I succeeded so well that a lot of people can't tell the difference."
Pasternack is absolutely right. This dish is delicious and is as meaty as any classic meat-based Bolognese. Serve this to your guests and prepare to blow their minds when you divulge your great secret.
Spaghetti with Tuna Bolognese:
2 lbs fresh tuna scraps or steaks, cut into large chunks
10 ounces Pancetta, cut into medium dice
6 ounces Mackerel, cut into large chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bottle dry red wine (choose a good one here--you're using the whole bottle so it matters)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy. I do.)
1 28 ounce-32 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand (juices reserved)
Salt and Pepper
1 lb. dried Spaghetti
1/2 lb Mascarpone Cheese
In a food processor, pulse the tuna, pancetta and mackerel until coarsely ground. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven, or heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the ground tuna mixture and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring with a fork, until all the juices are dry and the bottom of the pan begins to brown, 7-12 minutes. It's important to use the fork to break the tuna mixture up as you go--you don't want any large chunks
Add the red wine, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and cinnamon stick and cook until dry, about 15 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and their juice along with 1/2 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2-2 hours (I cooked it for at least 2). The sauce should be moist, not wet. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
Cook the pasta till al dente. Stir the mascarpone into the sauce and then mix with the pasta. Serve with some fresh ground pepper.