Golden Gate Pasta Salad

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Celebrate the flavors of San Francisco with spicy Italian tuna, capers and garlic roasted red pepper. Serve the pasta salad hot or cold to family and friends and wow them with this traditional combination. Lemons and peppers are in season so use fresh if possible. My mother-in-law made the peppers for us and the neighbor has a lemon tree that’s loaded with fresh fruit. A special thank you to Frankie Todaro for sending the fine Italian gourmet imports for Christmas which included the 2 cans of tuna.

Golden Gate Pasta Salad

1 lb pasta shells
2 cans of Italian tuna in oil, NOT drained
½ diced roasted red pepper
2 tbl capers, drained
2 small lemons, juiced
1 C mayonnaise
2 tbl onion powder
2 tbl fresh parsley
2 tsp salt

Start pasta water to boil. Add at least 2 tsp of salt to water. While waiting for the water, mix the mayo, onion powder, lemon and salt in the bottom of the pasta bowl you’ll be mixing it in. Add the hot, cooked, drained pasta to bowl and incorporate. This step is an important technique: (1) it adds the onion and lemon flavor to the mayo and pasta, (2) If you put the mayo on top of all the other ingredients, it glues the finely chopped peppers and capers together and doesn’t evenly distribute throughout the dish. I do this for all my cold pasta, potato salad and coleslaw dishes.

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Add the tuna, capers and peppers. Mix gently. I love traditional Italian cooking. I have many fond memories standing with my sisters, on the sidewalk of my grandparents’ house, looking across the Bay at the Golden Gate Bridge. Their home welcomed us with the warm aroma of simmering pots of red sauce, garlic bread, homemade cannelloni, ravioli, oh!! I still make all of it. Cannelloni is my favorite. A good morning begins with a stainless steel pot with olive oil in the bottom, dicing onions and garlic, then adding 2 big cans of San Marzano tomatoes. Yes, everything is going to be okay today. Cheers!!

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