Pasta with Tuna & Tomato Sauce Recipe


  • Pasta: 1 pound dried pasta (spaghetti, linguine, penne, or your favorite shape).
  • Olive Oil: 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.


  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Flavor Enhancers (select one or more for variety):

  • 4-5 anchovy fillets (optional, for deeper flavor)
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • 2 (5-ounce) cans of tuna packed in olive oil, drained

Tomato Base:

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes OR
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained, for a chunkier sauce
  • Fresh Herbs: 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or basil (or a mix)
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste
  • Optional Garnishes: Grated Parmesan cheese, extra chopped herbs


Prep and Cook the Pasta:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Make the Sauce:

  • While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and any of the selected flavor enhancers (anchovies, capers, red pepper flakes). Sauté for 1 minute more, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the tuna and break it up gently with a spoon.
  • Pour in the crushed or diced tomatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can simmer longer for a thicker sauce.

Combine Pasta & Sauce:

  • Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Toss to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water a bit at a time to loosen it.
  • Stir in most of the fresh herbs (reserve some for garnish). Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.


  • Divide the pasta into bowls. Top with a sprinkle of the remaining fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.


  • Quality Tuna: For the best flavor, use good-quality tuna packed in olive oil.
  • Customize It: Add other vegetables like chopped bell peppers, olives, or spinach.
  • Spice It Up: Add a pinch of chili flakes for a little kick.
  • Make it Creamy: Stir in a splash of heavy cream at the end for extra richness.


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