Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce

Pasta served with a sauce made with oil-packed canned tuna, onions, capers, white wine, and parsley.

Pasta with Tuna and Capers
Elise Bauer

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. 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

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 2 servings

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.


  • Salt

  • 4 ounces bow tie (farfalle), linguini, or spaghetti pasta

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more)

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped

  • Pinch chili pepper flakes

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil, drained

  • 1 tablespoon capers

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook the pasta:

    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. Cook the onions and chili pepper flakes:

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. Add the drained pasta to the tuna mixture:

    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.

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

Pasta with Tuna and Capers
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
418 Calories
21g Fat
22g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 418
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 1017mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 7mg 33%
Calcium 36mg 3%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 302mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.