Sounds complex, but it's a two-pan wonder and is done start to finish in 15 minutes. Looks impressive, tastes incredible. The spicy tuna is a outstanding foil for the creamy Orzo. Serve with a bold Spanish red (Juan Gil, 2004 is insanely good, $12) or Italian Barolo (Vignetto Gattera, 2001 is perfect, $30) .

This is a great friends-over-for-dinner meal. It's fast, delicious and a little theatrical to cook. Add a green salad with good Balsamic and you're there. Serves two hungry people.


Two tuna steaks, 1" thick or so
Blackening spice (which see)
Orzo, 1 pound
Locatelli cheese, 1 cup grated FINE
Flat Italian parsley, chiffonaded, 1 cup
Two basil tops
Shallot, 1 medium, diced fine
Olive oil for saute
Butter, 1/2 tsp
Dry white wine, 1/2 cup


Using the back of a wooden spoon press the blackening mixture into one side of each steak. Let sit for 10 mins while pasta water boils. Don't forget to _salt_ the water, it should be like seawater: almost briny.

Toss the Orzo into the rapidly boiling water and cook until al dente. Should take about 5 min.

While the Orzo cooks --

Heat a non-stick pan with 1 tsp of Olive Oil until shimmering. Cook the tuna, spiced side down for 90 seconds. Spice the top of the steak as above while cooking, press in with the back of the wooden spoon. Flip, and cook another 90 seconds. Remove steaks from the heat and let rest to distribute juices internally.

Add a little more olive oil and saute the shallots in the now messy and still hot pan. When the shallots color, deglaze with wine and scrape, scrape, scrape all the brown tasty bits into the sauce. Reduce until thick and righteous. Add a shot of demi if you've got it, and swirl in the warm butter, just a bit, for richness. The butter should soften and disappear, not melt! Take off the heat.

Strain the orzo, toss with parsley and Locatelli until cheese disappears and parsley wilts. Slice the still-warm tuna steak and fan the slices on top of the orzo. Pour sauce over top in a zigzag, decorate the plate edge with parsley chiffonade and garnish slices with basil top.