Sunday, March 8, 2015

“Spaghetti” al Tonno

I like a good meaty Bolognese sauce as much as the next half-Italian, but sometimes I just hanker for this…“Spaghetti” with tuna…a marriage made in heaven as strange as it sounds.

Believe it or not, this dish is an Italian classic.  My mom used to make it every now and then when we were growing up – and now I make it for my kids, usually upon request.

When I make this dish though I rarely use spaghetti – I usually choose another favorite.  For example, this time I used shells – they’re great little buckets for catching the “meaty” tuna sauce.


6 - 5 oz. cans of tuna*
2 – 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
Olive oil
Crushed Garlic
Fresh parsley
Fresh basil

* My mom, and a lot of the recipes you will find online, say to use tuna packed in oil.  I prefer and recommend using the best quality solid white albacore tuna packed in water, and use my own good quality olive oil when making the recipe.


  1. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet on medium heat
  2. Once the oil is hot, add a tablespoon of crushed garlic and sauté together for a few minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning
  3. Lightly drain the cans of tuna and flake the meat into the skillet
  4. Add a handful of finely chopped parsley, some fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt, and keep stirring
  5. Drizzle in a few more tablespoons of olive oil
  6. While the tuna is browning in the skillet, add the crushed tomatoes to a pot
  7. Stir in a large handful of finely chopped fresh basil with the tomatoes
  8. Transfer the tuna from the skillet into the pot, stir the mixture well
  9. Turn heat down to low, simmer for at least 30 minutes, but better an hour or two if you have the time
  10. Cook the pasta to your preferred doneness
  11. Ladle some the sauce over the plated pasta
  12. Sprinkle on some roughly chopped fresh basil
  13. Sprinkle on some Romano cheese (optional)
  14. Sprinkle on some roughly chopped long hot pepper (optional, but a key secret ingredient in my estimation)

 For Technologists:

No advice specific to technologists on this one – just general advice to anyone reading this…TRY IT with an open mind.  You won’t be sorry.


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