Recipe: Pasta al Tonno (Pasta with Tuna)

Pasta with Tuna Recipe

This dish is often made for Christmas in Rome. The Romans will sometimes use onion in place of the garlic, so it is up to you on your preferences.

The good news is, this dish is so easy to make, that you can have it all year round. We often have this for lunch because it is so quick to make, and I usually have the ingredients on hand. It includes tuna, which as an American, I usually associate with sandwiches, but the Italians like to eat a hot meal for lunch – something I have commented on in the past. And actually, I have come to prefer preparing pasta or rice for lunch – seems so much faster than getting out all that bread, cheese, salami, mustard, etc…

So next time you think about a tuna sandwich, why not have tuna pasta instead?

Recipe for Pasta with Tuna


extra virgin olive oil – enough to cover the bottom of the pan
2 cloves garlic
2 anchovy fillets (optional)
24 ounces (680 grams) tomato puree 
10 ounces (280 grams) tuna packed in oil and drained 
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper to taste
14 ounces (400 grams) dry pasta
fresh parsley


1. Start boiling water for pasta.

2. Peel garlic.

3. In a deep, wide skillet, on low heat, add garlic to olive oil and cook until golden, then remove garlic. 

4. If using anchovies, add them to the oil and cook for about 30 seconds breaking them up into small pieces. (Note: I did not use anchovies in this version).

5. Add tomato puree. Add salt and red pepper to taste. Let the sauce cook for about 20-30 minutes on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.  

6. Chop parsley. 

7. Salt pasta water. Note: There should be about 10 grams of salt for every liter of water. And there should be about 1 liter of water for every 100 grams of pasta. For us Americans that is about 1.2 teaspoons of salt for every quart of water. One quart of water will work for about 3.5 ounces of pasta. If you are not sure about the amount of salt to use, the Italians say it should “taste like the sea.” Of course, they say that….only an Italian could take something as mundane as salting their pasta water sound so fab. 

8. Add the drained tuna to the sauce sand and mix well. Cook for about a minute.  

9. Cook the pasta al dente. 

10. Drain the pasta, but retain a bit of water. Add pasta to the sauce and cook on low heat. Don’t worry about the extra water, it will not make your sauce runny even though in the beginning it will seem this way, keep stirring or flipping the pasta and you will see that the pasta water will help the sauce incorporate with the pasta.

11. Add the parsley and serve! 

Buon appetito!

Here are some of the products I used as well as some suggestions for cooking tools.

Awesome pan cooking the sauce: Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan
Pasta Pot: Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Pasta Pot
Yummy sauce used by everyone in Italy – it is pricey – cannot deny it – but so worth it!: Mutti Passata
Tuna packed in olive oil: Tuna


This article contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase something through these links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you) Thanks so much for your support!

3 Comments on “Recipe: Pasta al Tonno (Pasta with Tuna)

  1. Hey you! Sup? 🙃


    • HI!!!!!!! I have been MIA for a while now….but I have tons of posts I would like to write, just never get around to it. How are you? Hope everything is good in your world. 🙂

      • Thank you! Yes, all tutto bene here, grazie. Looking forward to seeing more new posts. Ciao bella.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: