Tuna Pasta With Olive Oil

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The Kookist’s version of this classic recipe retains the original feel and traditional flavor profile, but reduces the fat, increases the protein, and is anchovy-free. There is a lovely version in Carol Field’s book “In Nonna’s Kitchen” which was later adapted by Molly O’Neill for The New York Times. It’s fast family friendly fare for the tuna loving set.


Tuna Pasta With Olive Oil

  • ½ cup (82 grams) onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and slightly crushed but still intact
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups (252 grams) fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or 1½ cups canned tomatoes, pressed through a food mill or sieve to remove seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound thin pappardelle or tagliatelle
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 cans (283 grams) albacore tuna packed in olive oil, drained and oil reserved
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
  • 1½ teaspoons toasted bread crumbs


  1. In a heavy, nonreactive skillet set over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the garlic. Stir in the tomatoes, pine nuts, currants, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pappardelle and sea salt and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water.
  3. Flake the tuna with a fork. Add to the tomato sauce and mix well. If sauce is too thick, thin with a little of the reserved cooking water. Toss the pasta with 3/4 the sauce. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved tuna oil to the remaining sauce and spoon over the top. Sprinkle with the capers, parsley, and toasted bread crumbs. Serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

  • For a delicious, glute-free option that is lower in carbs and calories, try serving this dish over haricots verts instead of pasta.

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