Time for a V8 Pasta Sauce

Pasta made with V8. Seriously!

Would you believe that’s the secret ingredient in this lusty pasta sauce?

Yes, V8, the canned and bottled deep-red vegetable juice that’s been around since 1933.

Normally, I might pooh-pooh the idea of pulling the tab on a can of mass-produced tomato-enriched juice to toss with pasta for dinner, especially since I rarely even quaff the stuff straight .

But this recipe for “Spaghettini with Tuna and V8 Sauce” comes from none other than esteemed chefs, Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of award-winning Terra restaurant in St. Helena. And it was published in the cookbook, “A Twist of the Wrist” (Alfred A. Knopf), written by equally revered Pastry Chef, Nancy Silverton, famed for founding La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles, as well as for her restaurants there and in Singapore in conjunction with Mario Batali — Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza.

Keep a few in the pantry to make this dish on the spur of the moment.

The 137 recipes in this book are all about the way so many of us cook on harried evenings at home — by reaching for some stellar jarred, bottled or other prepared ingredients for a little help in the kitchen to put together a delicious meal in no-time flat.

Silverton writes in the book that she also thought the recipe daft when Doumani first told her that it’s a staple she makes at home. But once she looked at the ingredients list on a can of V8, which included tomato, carrot, celery and parsley, the logic for it came clear.

The dish comes together in 30 minutes. The V8 is simmered with chopped onion, chopped celery, garlic, capers, chopped olives, undrained olive oil-packed tuna, and a pinch of chile flakes for a kick of heat on the finish.

The sauce is complex and less sweet than your usual jarred pasta sauce. It’s salty and piquant, and quite rich from the meaty tuna and its olive oil. The celery keeps its crunch, adding a surprising textural contrast to the soft tuna.

It’s almost like a tuna puttanesca sauce. And it’s dynamite. So much so, that you’ll definitely be wishing you had a V8 pronto.

You won't be able to stop eating it.

Spaghettini with Tuna and V8 Sauce from Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Terra Restaurant

(Serves 4 normal appetites or 2 ravenous ones)

Kosher salt

8 ounces spaghettini (or spaghetti)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1 large garlic clove, grated or minced (about 1 teaspoon)

Pinch of chile flakes

1 cup V8

6 ounces olive oil-packed tuna, not drained

1 tablespoon capers

3 tablespoons small pitted green olives or black olives, coarsely chopped

High-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and add a generous amount of kosher salt. Stir in the spaghettini, return water to a boil, and cook pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent strands from sticking together, until it’s al dente. (Since cooking times vary, for perfectly cooked pasta, refer to the package instructions for the recommended time and taste the pasta frequently while it cooks.)

While water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil and onion together in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and saute until onion is just translucent, about 4 minutes. Add celery, garlic, and chile flakes and cook until garlic is softened and fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t brown. Add the V8 and bring it to a simmer. Stir in the tuna (including the oil it’s packed in), capers, and olives and reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the sauce simmer until the pasta is cooked.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water, then use tongs to lift the pasta out of the water and transfer it quickly, while it’s still dripping with water, to the skillet with the sauce. Stir in the reserved pasta water and cook the pasta with the sauce over medium-high heat, stirring to combine, for about 1 minute, so the pasta absorbs the sauce a bit.

Use tongs to lift the pasta out of the skillet and pile it onto four pasta or soup plates, dividing it evenly and twisting it into high mounds. Drizzle with the high-quality olive oil.

From “A Twist of the Wrist” by Nancy Silverton with Carolyn Carreno

Plus: My Meal at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles

More Unusual Recipes: Stir-Fried Bagels with Cabbage and Bacon

And: Shortcut Steamed Chinese Buns From Pillsbury Biscuit Dough

And: Potato Chips Made in the Microwave

And: Microwave Marmalade in Minutes

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Date: Friday, 19. August 2011 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, General, Recipes (Savory), Restaurants, Seafood

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  1. 1

    Wow a V8 juice pasta? But when you see it it looks delicious so I can see how it would work! Plus you get your veges too! :D

  2. 2

    So neat. Who would have thought to use V8? I love how you wrote, “4 normal appetites or 2 ravenous ones.”

  3. 3

    I should have had a V8 … pasta. ;-)

  4. 4

    I LOVE V8 and drink it almost everyday! Can’t wait to try this recipe! They actually have a few good recipes on the V8 website as well and I’ve been meaning to try the chicken one.

  5. 5

    A great idea! A great combination of healthy ingredients.



  6. 6

    A very original sauce with V8, sounds like a must try for sure!

  7. 7

    Your pasta looks deeelish! I always add V8 when I make chilli and now I have more ideas. Kudos. :)

  8. 8

    Pooh-pooh? I’ll give a woo-hoo! I assume V8 has less sodium content than jarred pasta sauce – so it might be less artificial tasting and more “vegetably” natural? I don’t know as I have not tried V8 before. But, it’s absolutely interesting and creative.

  9. 9

    How interesting. It does make sense with the liquid being pure veggies. looks tasty!

  10. 10

    Ahhhh, so the V8 juice has come of age…

  11. 11

    Wow, V8 pasta. I guess it’s not as weird as Vegemite spaghetti… Looks like an interesting book!

  12. 12

    Pasta and V8 juice. What more can you ask for? Deliciousness with all the benefits of the daily veggies.

  13. 13

    If my pasta would be as enticing as yours, then I will use V8 as well. I love the way you presented your pasta.

  14. 14

    Pasta is one of my favourites anytime….looks delicious!

  15. 15

    Actually I remember Peter at Kalofaga’s use V-8 in a pasta sauce a while back (or was it in a soup or stew?) anyway, why not? I am just not clear why a can would be preferable to the acutal veggies.

  16. 16

    Brilliant! I really like V8 although I would have never thought to put it in pasta haha -it must give the pasta a big veggie boost!

  17. 17

    I would never have thought to put V8 in pasta but what a great idea! Gotta get those veggies in somehow!

  18. 18

    best use for that swill that i’ve ever seen. and i use the term ‘swill’ in the nicest sense. :)

  19. 19

    I love the sound of this!! All ingredients I would use. And you said the magic words: Nancy Silverton. Just ate at Mozza a week ago. Got the budino to finish off the night. Yeah, she knows what she’s talking about. I’d trust her if she said to bake with laundry detergent. Maybe.

  20. 20

    Marni: Ooooh! I am so envious. I love Mozza. I saw on the menu, there’s even an appetizer now of fresh burrata with caviar. Oh, my heart be still. ;)

  21. 21

    I’m not a big V8 fan, but I may just have to give this a try.

  22. 22

    […] More Pasta Love: Spaghettini with Tuna and V8 Sauce […]

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