Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce

Pasta served with a sauce made with oil-packed canned tuna, onions, capers, white wine, and parsley.

Ready in:

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2

Here’s a little secret: olive oil-packed canned tuna, chili pepper flakes, and pasta is a master combination (and classic Italian).

One of my favorite dishes on this site is the tuna, arugula, chili pepper, pasta recipe. So when I stumbled on another variation with similar core ingredients in Giulia Melucci’s I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti I had to try it.

Score! If you like canned tuna and pasta, you must try this.

I made one batch (serves two), ate half of it for lunch and the rest for dinner. Because I know someone is going to ask, if you don’t cook with wine, try substituting 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar and 1/4 cup of water for the white wine the recipe calls for.

Regarding tuna packed in water, I’ve tried it and believe me, it doesn’t work (dry, tastes bad). You need to use tuna packed in olive oil.

You can easily dress up this recipe with a few more ingredients – chopped garlic added at the end of the onion cooking, chopped tomatoes and/or olives in with the tuna, lemon zest to serve, etc.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 4 ounces bow tie (farfalle), linguini, or spaghetti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • Pinch chili pepper flakes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt (1 1/2 teaspoons for every quart of water), return to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until cooked through, but still firm (al dente).

2 Cook the onions and chili pepper flakes: While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the recipe. In a large, wide sauté pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and chili pepper flakes and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes or so.

3 Mix in the canned tuna, the capers, and the salt. Add the wine, bring to a simmer then lower the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes or longer, while the pasta is cooking. If the mixture begins to dry out, add a little more wine.

4 Add the drained pasta to the tuna mixture: When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it in to the pan with the tuna. Toss to mix.

Drizzle on a bit more olive oil over it all, then add the chopped parsley and a few grinds of black pepper to taste.