Here’s a little secret: olive oil-packed canned tuna, chili pepper flakes, and pasta is a master combination (and classic Italian). One of my favorite dishes on this site is the tuna, arugula, chili pepper, pasta recipe. So when I stumbled on another variation with similar core ingredients in Giulia Melucci’s I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti I had to try it. Score! If you like canned tuna and pasta, you must try this. I made one batch (serves two), ate half of it for lunch and the rest for dinner. Because I know someone is going to ask, if you don’t cook with wine, try substituting 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar and 1/4 cup of water for the white wine the recipe calls for. Regarding tuna packed in water, I’ve tried it and believe me, it doesn’t work (dry, tastes bad). You need to use tuna packed in olive oil.
You can easily dress up this recipe with a few more ingredients - chopped garlic added at the end of the onion cooking, chopped tomatoes and/or olives in with the tuna, lemon zest to serve, etc.
- 4 ounces bow tie (farfalle), linguini, or spaghetti pasta
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (plus more)
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- Pinch chili pepper flakes
- 1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil, drained
- 1 Tbsp capers
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
1 Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt (1 teaspoon for every quart of water), return to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until cooked through, but still firm (al dente).
2 While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the recipe. In a large, wide sauté pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and chili pepper flakes and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes or so. Mix in the canned tuna, the capers, and the salt. Add the wine, bring to a simmer then lower the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes or longer, while the pasta is cooking. If the mixture begins to dry out, add a little more wine.
3 When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it in to the pan with the tuna. Toss to mix. Drizzle on a bit more olive oil over it all, then add the chopped parsley and a few grinds of black pepper to taste.