Sep 20, 2022

Pasta al Tonno (Pasta with Tomatoes, Capers, and Canned Tuna)

My original plan was using canned tuna from Italy since I'm making this Italian pasta. But the price I saw left me in awe? These imported (to me) canned tuna came with a hefty price tag. It was so expensive, to a point I think I can even buy high quality fresh tuna instead.

Being a smart housewife, I sought help from the next best option, local canned tuna. I wouldn't be able to find out the taste difference between the Italian version versus Taiwanese version canned tuna, but I'll try to use the least-affected kind. That means canned tuna in oil but without any additives nor seasonings.

Pasta al tonno (pasta with tomatoes, capers, and canned tuna) - 

Pasta al tonno

Ingredients (about 3 portions)?

  • 350 grams linguine pasta 
  • 1 anchovy fillet 
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 400 grams canned chopped tomatoes
  • Some salt
  • Some black pepper
  • 2 cans/370 grams total canned tuna in oil
  • Some extra virgin olive oil
  • Some grated aged Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Small bundle chopped parsley
  • Some pasta water (just in case)


Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Finely chop the parsley. Slightly drain out excess liquid from the canned tomato. Drain out the oil from the canned tuna, scoop the meat out and set aside for later use.

Ingredients for pasta al tonno

Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add a few pinches of salt. Once boiling, cook the pasta till almost al dente in texture. 

Towards the end, scoop out some pasta water. Basically we don't need it, but just in case the pasta turns out too dry, then the pasta water can be used to dilute the sauce.

Try to sync the pasta cooking while prepping the sauce at the same time. If it goes well, the sauce is ready when the pasta is about ready too. That way, you can drain the pasta and transfer to the sauce right away instead of leaving the cooked pasta waiting on the side.

Use a big pan and drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Turn to medium heat. Add in one anchovy fillet along with 2 tablespoons of capers. Mix and cook till the anchovy breaks apart. About two minutes.

Searing capers and anchovy

Add in chopped garlic and cook till aromatic but not burnt.

Pour in 1/2 cup of dry white wine together with 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes. Turn to medium high heat and cook till the sauce reduced a bit.

Aromatics and white wine for the pasta

Pour in semi-dried chopped tomatoes. Bring the whole thing to a simmer. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook till the sauce has been reduced a bit again. This time, about 5 minutes.

Adding chopped tomatoes for pasta al tonno

Transfer drained tuna and 2/3 of the chopped parsley over. Mix and cook for another minute or two.

Adding canned tuna and parsley for pasta al tonno

Transfer drained pasta and mix together with the sauce till evenly blended. Taste and adjust with additional seasonings if needed. If the consistency appears too dry, add a little saved pasta water here.

Once ready, plate and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil. Grate some aged Parmigiano Reggiano for a boost of flavor. Garnish with remaining chopped parsley. 

Pasta al tonno

Keep in mind that canned tuna and cheese are both slightly salty. So while tasting the nearly finished pasta, don't get too crazy on the amount of salt used. 

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