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Blog: Nikki Sands
Nikki is the quirky heroine of The Wine Lover’s Mystery Series. She’s full of sarcastic wit but has a pretty sensitive heart when it comes down to it. She’s been through the ringer uncovering many a murder, as well as trying to figure out where her true heart lies. Derek or Andrés. She enjoys having a good glass of wine in the evening, making tasty meals, and going for a run with her Rhodesian Ridgeback Ollie.
Discovering dead bodies is not my forte, or actually maybe it is considering they seem to cross my path on a regular basis amidst the golden hills of Napa Valley. I had no idea it would be a trend for me, but a few years later it still seems to be happening. I can let readers know that in the next Nikki Sands installment, I am swept away to another very exciting country where I am pretty sure that I will find a mystery or two. Good news is that along with the mystery, you can always count on the fact that I will be dining on delicious meals and drinking great wine.
In the meantime, I will add another recipe and wine pairing to my growing list, and hope you will give it a whirl. I can’t take credit for this one. It comes from one of my favorite chefs from Food Network Giada De Laurentiis. If you love to cook and don’t own a Giada cookbook, do yourself a favor and get one. I haven’t made a meal yet from her that I haven’t absolutely loved. If you choose to have a glass of wine with this recipe, I think something white and light is nice. I would lean toward a Pinto Grigio. My favorite right now is Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio 2009. It’s light and fruity with just the right amount of citrus.
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces linguine
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
- 1 28-ounce can San Marzano plum tomatoes
- 4 basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish
- 1 5-ounce can albacore tuna, packed in olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the capers and olives and fry 2 more minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the skillet with your hands and reserve the juices. Cook until the tomatoes are slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved tomato juices, the basil, and salt to taste and cook until the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tuna with its oil, breaking it up with a fork, and season with salt.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water, and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and the reserved cooking water and toss. Season with pepper and garnish with more basil.