Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fast, Hot Tuna: Tonnino "Tuna Ventresca" Stuffed Shells

Today's post was supposed to be the Seared Scallops with Orange Supremes and Jalapeno Vinaigrette recipe I teased a few days ago, but then I realized the deadline for a tuna recipe contest I had entered was just days away!

This "Tuna Ventresca" stuffed shells recipe is my entry in the Tonnino Tuna Chef Challenge. As you'll hear in the video, "Tuna Ventresca" is the crème de la crème of the canned tuna world. You can check the Tonnino website for more details on why this wild-caught, hand-picked, Yellowfin tuna belly is so yummy, but I'll just say it made for one incredible casserole!

What I was trying to do here was gourmet-up the good old tuna noodle casserole. While it may seem counterintuitive to "cook" such an expensive, premium quality tuna, I'm so glad I did.

The flavor of this particular type of tuna is outstanding, and while I do usually enjoy it cold, as-is, I have no problem using it like as well. A regular chuck burger is great, but sometimes we just have to grind up a dry-aged rib eye steak.

A few technical notes about the video… They gave us a 2-minute time limit, which is why the presentation is way too fast. I will be posting a longer, "director's cut" soon.

Also, the odd little intro and outro screens were for my peeps on YouTube, so they would know what was up. I hope you enjoy the video, and yes, this would work with any tuna, but if you can try it with the "Tuna Ventresca," I think you'll really enjoy it.

To vote, follow this link to the official recipe page, and just click on the "Like" button. Thanks!!

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups cold milk
pinch cayenne
pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese

20 cooked jumbo pasta shells

For the filling:
1 tablespoon reserved olive oil from tuna jar
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup green peas
*1 jar Tonnino Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil, drained
2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

*By the way, in the spirit of full disclosure, a while back I did receive a couple complimentary samples of Tonnino tuna to try out – just in case that kind of thing matters to anyone.


marchordie said...

Voted, great video!

Anonymous said...

That's fantastic! I will not rest until I find some of this beautiful tuna in a jar.

Anonymous said...

Well, yours is obviously the best video and I'm guessing that it is the best recipe.
My second vote would be the salad IF I could vote. But alas, I don't do facebook so how do I vote?

Anonymous said...

WOW, this is a must try recipe. And 2 minutes was not as short as you think, your always very precise in your verbal directions so it was easy to follow.

rosemary said...

Oh my! Must try this. Soon.

Jax said...

Off topic. Good job on taking out the background image, your site is scrolling smoothly again in my laptop.

Espresso Style said...

Muuuuuuuuch better browsing, chef John. Muuuuch better. No more jerky scrolling, thank God!
And, may I say, much better (smooth, tasteful) layout overall.
Keep up the good work. I enjoy it several times a week!

Don Madrid said...

I am now so hungry

Anonymous said...

nice, didn't think it was too short, I would vote, but I don't have a facebook, sorry chef

Anonymous said...

Hi. Would love to find the full recipe with instructions. Do you have that handy to post?

Dying to make this!!

Kris said...

How much tuna is this, approximately, if you're not using the jar?

DavePR said...

Yummy recipe! We at Wild Planet Foods are having a tuna recipe contest on our Facebook page right now. The best recipe wins a basket of our sustainable canned seafood! Looking forward to reading more recipes:)

Anonymous said...

Getting ready to try this mouthwatering recipe. I found Callipo yellow fish tuna in oil, the package is 3 cans of 80g each totalling 240g, I'm gessing I should put all three, right?
thanks in advance Chef John!

Chef John said...


Anonymous said...

I made your dish for my family and they loved it! I just posted the results on my blog along with a picture. I would be honored if you would give it a look.

Shelly Borrell, Nibbles of Tidbits said...

Hey John -- Congratulations on your win!!!!! I just checked Tonnino's site and saw your face. That's awesome. I entered a pretty lame video, but it was my first and I learned a lot :) And my recipe tasted great. It was a fun contest, but I didn't like how they kept extending the deadline. I rushed to get my video in at the first deadline. It was like they were letting all know... We still don't like any of the videos we currently have so PLEASE enter more, hahaha -- Oh well. Btw, I'm the girl whose table you didn't want to sit at during the Foodbuzz Fest Sat. night dinner :) You had to sit at the cool table and I don't blame you. I'm messing with you too. Congrats on your Tonnino win Chef Tuna.

Ciao, Shelly

Chef John said...

lol, sorry! thanks for the congrats. keep doing videos!

Joel said...

Saying that I loathe tuna noodle casserole is an understatement. But, since my girls LOVE it, I was willing to compromise. I had low expectations that were blown out of the water. This was AWESOME. The girls had the "Oh My God" eyes when they first tasted it. How much did I like it? I ate it for dinner and brought the leftovers to work the next day! Thanks very much Chef John!!

LA92 said...

Looks amazing? When the Directo's Cut will come out Chef John? It's almost a year and a half! I so anxious :D

Unknown said...

Great recipe! I wish I could print it.

tiffany said...

I made this tonight with some left over salmon from a dinner party and chopped leftover asparagus instead of peas...phenomenal. I love your site, recipes and humor. Thank you for all the inspiration.

Roberto said...

Made this the other night for a big dinner party; HUGE hit with my Italian friends. I had some shells left over, so I made myself a smaller version using left-over diced chicken. It's even better. The chicken version is now my "keeper" recipe.

Unknown said...

Quick question. My wife hates....HATES ricotta cheese, along with cottage cheese and anything else near this texture. Is there a substitute someone can recommend? Maybe just upping the Fontina and omitting the ricotta? Thanks in advance.

Stacy said...

We made this recipe last night and loved it!

Unknown said...

Chrissy says, I don't know what to say, I'm just happy with it...and would make it again.

Evil Otaku said...

Whatever happened to the more in depth video?