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Tuscan Tuna

Dear folks,
Please excuse my mispronunciation of cannellini beans. I was saying cannelli - leaving out an entire syllable. I must have had a hanckering for a cannoli while taping and kept saying cannelli. Thanks for your understanding.

This dinner is fashioned after the classic Italian salad of the same name. In this dish, fresh, seared tuna is served atop a lovely cannellini bean stew and orzo pasta. Leftovers make a great salad when tossed with mixed field greens.

2 pounds fresh Yellowfin tuna (four 8 ounce filets)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
1 16-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained & chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1 pound orzo pasta
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsely
Basil leaves or chive stems for garnish

Start first with the bean stew. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Saute the onions, garlic and fennel bulb for 15 minutes over low-to-medium heat until soft. Stir in drained beans and tomatoes. Saute another 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Either grill your tuna filets outside, or sear them in a hot pan with olive oil. Salt and pepper the filets before doing so. (Note: Four 8 ounce filets are pretty thick ones. Cook the tuna for as long as you like, keeping in mind that they should take no more than 5 minutes on each side for well-done. If you like your tuna still pink in the middle, try 3-4 minutes on each side).

Drain the pasta and stir the parsely into the bean stew. Serve either family style on a platter or on individual plates with the orzo first, then the stew, then the tuna. Garnish with chive stems or basil leaves.

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