Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce

Print

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.

Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce Recipe

Print
  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2

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.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 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

Method

1 Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt (1 1/2 teaspoons 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.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Print

Adapted from a recipe in Giulia Melucci's I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

Pasta with Tuna and Capers

Never miss a recipe!

Subscribe to Simply Recipes free via email:

Showing 4 of 48 Comments

  • Valerie

    This is very close to what my nonna used to make. Usually she would make it in a light tomato sauce without the wine or any lemon, but sometimes she would make it this way–again without the wine but with lemon, pasta water, and always with a pinch of red pepper. Also, she never tossed out the olive oil that the tuna was packed in, but used it to sautee the onion and tuna. She used 2 cans so there was plenty for the dish. Not only does the tuna absorb the olive oil, but the oil in the can absorbs the flavor of the tuna. She never wasted anything! If there was any left in the can–out came the bread! She enjoyed her food, and yet she was the tiniest thing. This sounds like a nice variation with the addition of wine, but in my case dry vermouth–just a preference and what I use in my clam sauce. I never thought to use it in the tuna sauce!

  • Jim

    Great recipe!! The first time that I made this, my wife said “I could eat this every night”. I added sliced black olives and the juice of half a lemon. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Rosie

    Can I use some leftover smoked salmon as well?

  • Peter

    I’ve noticed that in your recipes using canned tuna, you specify to drain the oil.

    Why? Is there a reason why the olive oil in which the tuna is packed cannot (or should not) be used?

View More Comments / Leave a Comment