Fishy Business: Pasta with Spicy Tuna Sauce

Poor canned tuna.  It gets a pretty bad rap, don’t you think?  We mix it with globs of mayo and smush it between slices of white bread to make sandwiches, toss it with cooked noodles and cream of mushroom soup to make casseroles, and smother it with handfuls of shredded cheese to make tuna melts.

Spicy Tuna Pasta

Fresh tuna is fancy and extravagant and worthy of a special occasion. Canned tuna is cheap and functional and worthy of a frantic I-need-dinner-on-the-table-in-20-minutes-flat Thursday night.

I’m as guilty as anyone else, mind you. Back when I was a broke-ass university student, canned tuna was a regular staple in my diet, mostly because I could stock up on large quantities whenever I found a good sale. The fanciest I’d ever get with my tuna is a quick-and-dirty pasta puttanesca, which consisted of a can of tuna, a jar of marinara sauce, some drained capers and a handful of canned black olives, which I’d then toss with whatever pasta I happened to have on hand. It was quick, easy… and most important of all, dead cheap.

Making Pasta

Now that I can afford to spend a little more on my grocery bill, though, canned tuna is a once-in-a-blue moon thing for me – usually when I’m feeling under the weather and a craving strikes me for a freshly toasted tuna salad sandwich with a cup of soup.

This recipe from Aurora Importing might just change my mind, though. For one, their Allessia brand oil-packed tuna comes in a pretty glass jar to show off the big chunks of tuna within, which have a rich, meaty flavour that’s nothing at all like the canned tuna of my university days.  Plus it’s ridiculously fast – from start to finish, I had dinner on the table in 20 minutes flat.

La Bomba Sauce

The only change I made to the recipe was to add some canned black olives, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes for added spice. The La Bomba antipasto spread also gives the dish a depth of flavour that belies its short cook time, along with a mellow heat – feel free to adjust the amount to suit your preferences. (Also, there’s something rather awesome about a spread whose name literally translates to “The Bomb”… because it is.)

Even The Boy gave it his seal of approval and inhaled an entire bowl, which is rather impressive when you consider he normally wouldn’t touch canned fish with a ten foot pole. Looks like canned tuna might just be making a comeback at my house!

Spicy Tuna Pasta

This recipe was part of this month’s Recipideo Roundup for Aurora Importing.  Unfortunately, this month’s contest is now over, but I’d highly recommend subscribing to their Youtube channel so that you can catch next month’s Recipideo and take part the competition.  All you have to do is watch the Recipideo, make the featured recipe at home, then submit a photo of the finished dish on the Aurora website. There’s a $50 certificate for My Italian Cantina up for grabs each month, which will buy you an awful lot of that lovely Allessia tuna!

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Disclosure: I was provided with all the ingredients needed to make this recipe by Aurora Importing in exchange for writing this post.  All opinions are 100% mine.

This recipe was part of this month’s Recipideo Roundup for Aurora Importing – this month’s contest is now over, but I’d highly recommend subscribing to their channel so that you can take part in next month’s competition.  All you have to do is watch the Recipideo, make the featured recipe at home, then submit a photo of the finished dish. There’s a $50 certificate for My Italian Cantina up for grabs each month!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Pasta with Spicy Tuna Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is how Italians do fast food... a simple tomato sauce with tuna and olives that can be whipped up in the time it takes to boil a pot of pasta. It just doesn't get any easier than this!
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp La Bomba antipasto spread (or more, to taste)
  • ½ tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 can (398 ml) diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups strained tomatoes
  • 1 lb uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 jar (190 gr) oil-packed tuna, drained
  • ½ cup canned black olives, roughly chopped
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. While the water comes to a boil, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until soft but not coloured. Stir in La Bomba sauce and hot pepper flakes, and cook for 2-3 minutes longer or until fragrant.
  2. Stir in diced tomatoes and strained tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook for 1 minute less than indicated on the package, or until soft but still quite al dente. Drain.
  4. Once the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, stir in the tuna and chopped olives. Add the pasta, and stir until evenly coated with sauce. Cook for a minute or two to heat the tuna through, then remove from heat. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

 

Comments

  1. says

    So funny, I just made something like this last night. We have tons of canned tuna from stocking up before Hurricane Irene on the East Coast and I’ve been trying to us it up.

  2. says

    Whoa Isabella what a great idea! My brother makes something similar minus the tomato sauce. It’s one of his favs and a recipe he learned while living with a few Italian dudes in Scotland a few years back. Gotta get you the recipe.
    XO
    Sam

  3. says

    I remember the days of canned tuna (especially since they still somewhat exist – I can’t make mac and cheese without throwing in some tuna!) Definitely going to have to seek this brand out =)

  4. Rochelle (@AcquiredLife) says

    Fantastic and simple! I’ve made something similar with anchovies and sardinhas (see I’m learning Portuguese…. slowly…). I thought about doing it with tuna but didn’t. I’ll have to try it though cause this looks delicious. And who doesn’t like a meal that takes less than 20 minutes, I mean really.

  5. says

    I keep tuna in my pantry for recipes like this but believe it or not, I’ve used it in stir-fried rice, too. It actually works! Isabelle, your pasta with tuna sauce has all the right flavors going on–I would happily eat this any night of the week.

  6. Taylor says

    This recipe looks absolutely delectable, Isabelle! I’ll certainly be testing this recipe out. Also, you have used such wonderful food photography. I know this is very random, but where did you get your silverware? I am in love with those forks!

    • Isabelle says

      Thanks, Taylor! The flatware in my photos came from Dollarama (a Canadian dollar store chain). It looks much better on-camera than it does in real life, but you just can’t beat it for price. :)

  7. says

    I love pasta with tuna sauce. I’m trying to take advantage of expensive ingredients before I go off to university, but I make an exception for tuna.

  8. Kiri W. says

    Wow, this looks delicious :) I love spicy tuna in tomato sauce, and like you have embraced canned tuna for every-day meals. The benefits of college ;)

    • Isabelle says

      Agreed! This is a classic example of what I’d call a Desperation Dinner… fast, tasty and made entirely from pantry staples. :)

    • Isabelle says

      The good thing about this venture is you can participate too, Val! Heck, you don’t even need a blog about it… just snap a photo and off you go.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Notre gagnante du mois dernier écrit, « …ridiculement rapide – du début jusqu’à la fin, j’ai fait cuisiné mon souper en 20 minutes totale. Même « le Gars » a donné son approbation et a englouti tout un bol, ce qui est impressionnant lorsqu’on considère que normalement il ne mangerait pas du poisson en conserve pour rien au monde. » – Isabelle, Crumb Blog […]

  2. […] Our winner last month writes, ” …ridiculously fast – from start to finish, I had dinner on the table in 20 minutes flat…Even ‘The Boy’ gave it his seal of approval and inhaled an entire bowl, which is rather impressive when you consider he normally wouldn’t touch canned fish with a ten foot pole.” – Isabelle, Crumb Blog […]

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