#tunatreat tomat pasta!

#tunatreat Canned Tuna and Tomato Pasta

This week we’re taking our community to create a new dish with one of our favorite pantry staples: canned tuna. I know what you’re thinking, "Canned tuna brings back memories of grayish casseroles and lukewarm lunch box sandos..." but we’re on a mission to change preserved tuna’s reputation, so dust a can off from the back of the pantry and get ready to brighten up those isolation meals.

To kick things off, I was inspired by Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. In one of my favorite recipes, she makes a simple canned tuna and tomato sauce with garlic. The thing I love about Hazan’s recipes is that they lend themselves to manipulation, so when making the sauce, I like to add a little fish sauce to bring out the umami flavor in the tomato. I also like an addition of softened onion, spicy red pepper flake, and salty parm to finish. The dish came out so deliciously, it made me want to experiment more and more with canned tuna in pasta sauce.

I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with when making their own #tunatreat!


  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • ½ lb. pasta, tagliatelle or spaghetti recommended
  • Two 5 oz. cans tuna in olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley
  • Grated parmesan cheese

In a sauce pan, warm the olive oil and add the chopped onion over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, or until soft.

Stir in minced garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add fish sauce, deglaze pan.

Crush tomatoes in hand and add into the saucepan. Then add the remaining liquid from the can to the pan.

Add pepper flakes to your personal spice level preference. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted water. Fold in flaked tuna to the tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste. When pasta is al dente, drain and fold into sauce. Garnish with torn parsley and grated parmesan cheese.


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1 comment

As a fan of tuna and pasta together — it’s a family staple in our house — I suggest using a few crushed anchovies or a teaspoon of anchovy paste in place of the fish sauce for a more Italian/traditional flavor. This was a lovely salute to a truly pantry-and-quarantine friendly dish.

Laura Berman

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