Monday, June 8, 2009

Pressure Test pasta

As I’ve mentioned previously, I always seem to miss watching a complete episode of MasterChef Australia. Well, there was no way I was going to miss it today, because Adriano Zumbo was in the episode, presenting a spectacular croquembouche that took him 1½ hours to make.

It was fun seeing Zumbo instructing the contestants on how to make the choux pastry and how to mix the crème patissier, and how to relieve their sugar-burnt fingers (keep a bowl of ice water nearby). It was just like
his Cooking Class that we went to last year…

However, I did almost miss the episode because I was making dinner and I was running late, late, late! It was like experiencing my own personal Pressure Test

The cause of the drama was this Tuna Meatball Pasta. Not that difficult, but I used flavoured tuna, which is quite liquid-y and does not form the required ‘meatballs’ that well. But the flavour was amazing. And do NOT omit the lemon rind – it gives a wonderful zingy, fresh taste to the dish that has to be tasted to be believed. This pasta dish is a keeper.

Tuna Meatball and Pesto Pasta
Serves 4

400g spaghetti or linguine
2 x 185g cans tuna, drained (I used tomato and onion flavoured + tuna in brine – yum!)
1 cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped dill
¼ cup (40g) pine nuts
1 tblsp finely grated lemon rind
1 egg
1 tblsp olive oil
¾ cup (185ml) cream
¼ cup store-bought pesto (I used Wattle Valley Rocket Dip with Cashews – nice!)
Finely grated parmesan, to serve

1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente (10-12 mins). Drain and keep warm.
2. Place tuna, breadcrumbs, dill, pine nuts, lemon rind and egg in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until just combined. Or mix in large bowl with a wooden spoon.
3. Roll tablespoons of the tuna mixture into balls.
4. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frypan over high heat. Add the tuna balls and cook, turning, for 2-3 minutes or until golden.
5. Add the pesto, cream and pasta to the pan and toss to combine.
Sprinkle with parmesan before serving.

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay magazine (issue 45 June/July 2009)


Mix the tuna, breadcrumbs, lemon rind, egg, dill and pine nuts


  1. How great was it to see him on Masterchef? I love using those Wattle Valley dips for pastas-they always add so much flavour! :)

  2. I purposely made dinner early so I wouldn't miss the episode, how good was it? His cooking class looked like such a great experience! Fantastic idea using tuna for meatballs btw :)

  3. What a simple yet fantastic recipe! Oh, I stumbled here from somewhere and I must admit, I tuned in to watch Masterchef knowing Adriano Zumbo would be there too. :)

  4. I noticed this recipe in Donna Hay since it's so unusual to make tuna meatballs. It sounds like it's full of flavour!

  5. woww this looks so simple that I think even I could do it ! :)

    ..but is your parmesan cheese ..white? hahaha!

    in terms of masterchef, i had a croquembouche as a birthday cake a couple of years ago, but i'd love to see you post up a recipe of it here :D haha

  6. Hee hee pressure test :P yay I love pestoooo and ooh never tried tuna meatballs before, looks great :)

  7. hi Lorraine - it was great to see Zumbo! Apparently, they sold out of cakes at the shop the next day as a result of it.

    hi Steph - so many fans he has! And yes, the tuna meatballs are fab.

    hi Trisha - welcome, glad you stopped by!

    hi Arwen - it spoke out to me too! And I highly recommend it.

    hi eden - that is quite expensive grano padano from DJs, I'll have you know! And I've got a long way to go before I even contemplate croquembouche! thanks anyway!

    hi FFichiban - the meatballs are great. A nice change from meat meatballs (does that make them fishballs?)