Edit ModuleShow Tags

Spaghetti al Tonno or Spaghetti with Tuna Sauce


Published:

This rustic Italian tuna and pasta dish is not your mom’s tuna noodle casserole—though don't get me wrong, I am in no way knocking casseroles. My mom used to make a killer tuna version—cream of mushroom soup and all—and it was one of my childhood favorites. But for those of you who hate the stuff, or prefer their pasta dishes lighter, prettier, and bit more authentic, you'll appreciate this lusty tangle of spaghetti. The tuna, warmed with plenty of minced garlic, capers, and olives, as well as a generous drizzle of olive oil and wine, melts into a pleasantly salty, rich-tasting sauce.

The secret ingredient here—in fact, the secret ingredient in many pasta dishes—is the pasta cooking water. If you prepare a lot of pasta, you likely already know this, but if not, take note: The addition of 1/4 cup or so of reserved pasta cooking water, as you toss pasta and sauce together, does pretty magical things. The starch in the water contributes a fabulously creamy finish, creating a luscious sauce from something as simple as garlic and olive oil.

Or in this case, tuna and olive oil. I haven't mentioned that the sauce comes together in oh, about 10 minutes—less time than it takes to boil water and cook the pasta. As such, this is a perfect weeknight dish, requiring little more than a reach into the pantry. Hey, kind of like tuna noodle casserole! Except better, since I'll bet no one described your mom’s tuna noodle casserole as lusty.

 PHOTO BY STEPHANIE MEYER


Spaghetti al Tonno or Pasta with Tuna Sauce

Adapted from Italian Classics by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine
Serves 4-6

3 Tbsp. olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1/2 c. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. minced Kalamata olives (I use Kalamata olive spread, since we always have it in our fridge)
1 Tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
2-7 oz. cans tuna (I use Genova brand, packed in olive oil, or use white tuna packed in water; either way, drain well and break up the chunks into fine pieces with your hands)
1 lb. spaghetti
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley leaves (I often substitute minced scallions because that's what I have on hand)
3 Tbsp. butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put on a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, turn heat to low, and saute until fragrant but not browned, 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tuna, olives, capers, and a sprinkle of salt, and cook until heated through, 1 minute. Set pan aside. Add the pasta to the boiling water, cook until al dente. Reserve 1/4 c. of the cooking water, and then drain the pasta. Return pasta to the pot and add tuna sauce, parsley, butter, a generous sprinkle of salt, several grinds of black pepper, and cooking water, tossing until pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Serve immediately, with additional grinds of black pepper if you like.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

How Restaurant Alma Got Its Signature Flavor Profile

Unlocking the building blocks to Restaurant Alma's subtle, delicious cuisine

Fanning the Flames: Bananas Foster Recipe

A flick of a flame brings it all together—warm, buttery sweet sauce melted over healthy bananas and refreshing ice cream.

What Do You Know About Portuguese Wine?

You probably know nothing, which is why Twin Cities Wine Geek Week is for you
Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

How Restaurant Alma Got Its Signature Flavor Profile

Unlocking the building blocks to Restaurant Alma's subtle, delicious cuisine

Fanning the Flames: Bananas Foster Recipe

A flick of a flame brings it all together—warm, buttery sweet sauce melted over healthy bananas and refreshing ice cream.

What Do You Know About Portuguese Wine?

You probably know nothing, which is why Twin Cities Wine Geek Week is for you

Grilled Coffee-Molasses Brined Pork Chops with a Coffee Rub Recipe

Get juicy pork from brining while adding a mysterious flavor with sweet savory seasoning and a rub

Haute Dish, Victory 44, Rustica at MOA—all closed. Why?

The summer—and this past weekend especially—has been tough on Twin Cities restaurants. Is it (future) minimum wage hike or location?

Spilling the Beans: What I Learned From 5 Minneapolis Coffee Shops In 3 Hours

These are the best drinks from cafe favs on the Twin Cities Caffeine Crawl this year—plus sophisticated brewing methods and tidbits of coffee trivia
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Dream Job Alert

Not all berries are created equal. Each year, a few lucky berry lovers get to participate in Driscoll’s flavor tests.

Greek Wheat Berry Salad with Oregano Chicken and Halloumi Cheese Recipe

A medley of flavors and textures keep salad season interesting

Driscoll's Fun Facts

In the 100+ years of growing perfect berries, Driscoll’s has learned just about everything there is to know about how to get perfect into that little basket.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags