What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pasta with Tuna and Lemon

whatscookingwednesday.jpgEver since I posted a recipe for Rigatoni with Tuna and Christine mentioned doing that sauce without the tomatoes, I’ve been wanting to try this “in bianco.” P finally gave the nod the other day, and boy do I love the results.

This is a super-fast dish (and easy easy easy), so you’ll want to put on the water to boil for the pasta before you even start cutting anything up. I did this with penne, P’s favorite short pasta, but you could do this with pretty much any kind of pasta and it would work just fine.

I’m going to try it with linguine next, in fact, since as I was eating this I realized it’s kind of a Poor Man’s Linguine with Clams.

Pasta with Tuna & Lemon

Pasta with Tuna & Lemon

  • 2 small cans of tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 peperoncino, chopped
  • fresh chopped parsley (save some for garnish)
  • splash of white wine
  • lemon juice (I used half a lemon)
  • salt to taste

In pan, heat olive oil drained from tuna cans over medium heat. If your tuna isn’t packed in olive oil, use two tablespoons or so of the good stuff.

Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent without burning.

Mix in tuna, parsley, and peperoncino. Let cook for a few minutes, then add the splash of white wine and let it cook off.

Add a small ladle-full of pasta water, squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture, and leave pan on the heat just long enough for the flavors to mingle. Add salt to taste.

Toss with pasta of your choice.

Told you it was easy.

Buon appetito!


[tags]tuna, pasta, lemon, tuna with lemon, tuna recipes, pasta with tuna, what’s cooking wednesday, recipes[/tags]

25 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Pasta with Tuna and Lemon”
  1. Gil

    Sounds really good. Do you really salt fish dishes?

    The canned tuna here doesn’t have any salt in it (don’t know about anywhere else), so yes, this one needs just a dash–and I’m not a fan of salt by any means. I scrape it off pretzels 😉

  2. 02.20.2008

    What, you scrape salt off of pretzels?! 🙂

    This dish looks good, I’ll give it a try. My half-Italian husband won’t eat the cold pasta and tuna salad that I like, but he would eat the above version.

    poppy fields’s last blog post..Hi, I’m a Democrat

    I know, kind of ruins the point, but that salt is just so strong! I hope you enjoy the dish 🙂

  3. Rosa (something...)

    Thats a summer favourite of ours. Just the dish to serve when you’ve come up from the beach (at Positano you literally come UP from the beach) and don’t feel like cooking but have a horde of hungry teenagers to feed!

    Absolutely a great summer dish–and anytime I’m feeling a bit lazy yet hungry 😉 We come UP from the beach too, although it’s not nearly as steep as in Positano. We, personally, come UP even further, though, since we live on the mountain 🙂

  4. 02.20.2008

    oh boy, this looks great! I’d be tempted to add black olives or capers… but then I am a salt fiend! Want to send me the stuff you scrape off pretzels?

    anno’s last blog post..Absence/Alterations

    Yes this would be *fabulous* with black olives and/or capers! As for the salt from the pretzels, I should’ve written it in the past tense…we don’t really have pretzels here (not the big soft Philadelphia kind or the Snyder’s of Hanover hard ones that I like anyway) 😉

  5. 02.20.2008

    Looking good Michelle!!! I would love this dish!!! I often put tuna in my pasta…with either red or white sauce. It is easy, healthy and tastes great! Thanks for sharing your recipe 🙂

    My Melange’s last blog post..What’s in your Vocab Bank?

    I’m a big fan of tuna in pretty much anything and so is P, thank goodness 🙂

  6. 02.20.2008

    My, that penne sure looks al dente! I wanna bite into that. 🙂

    I hope to try this recipe soon!

    Al dente all the way baby!

  7. Looks delicious! My mom used to make this a lot for a quick week night dinner. She sometimes added cannelini beans or peas too. Just goes to show that it doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. I’ll bet you can get really great tuna there. We are limited here. I always have to lace my tuna with a good evoo before I can use it.

    Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy’s last blog post..Thank Heaven for Little Girl(Scout)s

    You’re absolutely right–the tuna here is *so* much tastier than what I used to get in America. I would love this with peas in particular. YUM.

  8. 02.20.2008

    That looks really good. And I like Anno’s idea of the black olives too! So craving pasta now…again. Always.

    kacey’s last blog post..Left Brain Right Brain

    Hah, you’d never crave it if you lived with me 😉 We often put black olives in with the tomato sauce, but I didn’t have any when I made this. Next time!

  9. 02.20.2008

    I have been away for a bit and I come back to the one day in which I actually cringe — your mouth-watering, stomach growling, salivation-inducing What’s Cooking Wednesday. Oh man, Sognatrice, this looks so good. Simple and yet so darned good. You are amazing.

    witnessing am i’s last blog post..The Summons

    Why thank you, but you must realize that the ingredients around here have a lot to do with the mouth-watering, stomach-growling, salivation-inducing stuff 😉

  10. This is a great dish. So yummy. I might try black olives next time.

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Forgive me for I have sinned. I watched “Flavor of Love” last night.

    Yes yes! I love black olives.

  11. 02.20.2008

    I don’t usually buy the tuna in oil, just spring water. It is hard to find the good Spanish tuna in oil at a reasonable price in the U.S. when you can find it at all. I would definitely have to have black olives (oil cured) in my version and it would be great if you used Meyer lemons.
    Thanks for the recipe.

    I hear you Fallenmonk; I never used to buy the tuna in oil until I was here–it’s actually a little difficult to find it in water sometimes as not all stores seem to carry it. We use those great black olives in the tomato sauce version of this all the time. YUM 🙂

  12. 02.20.2008

    OOH, yum! I should have participated in What’s Cooking Wednesday this week, as I made a pretty elaborate dish for myself for dinner last night…darn! I recently bought a new recipe book, so maybe next week I’ll throw something up on the blog.

    Karina’s last blog post..American Idol Recap – Week 1 – The Boys

    Karina, there’s always time to join WCW! It’s so fun!

  13. 02.20.2008

    Thanks for the shout out! I love this with the addition of capers and occasionally green olives. It’s a frequent weekend lunch meal since it’s so fast.

    Hope all is well and should you ever come back to Philly we’ll have to meet up.

    Christine’s last blog post..Because I cannot look at the last post anymore

    Mmm capers; I will definitely let you know if/when I’m back around Philly. I’ll get there someday!

  14. 02.20.2008

    Wow! Even I might be able to do that.

    Diane Mandy’s last blog post..Far, but not far enough

    Try it Diane; it is definitely easy 🙂

  15. 02.20.2008

    you are right…that *is* easy! & it is a very handy friday lenten dish too

    qualcosa di bello’s last blog post..comfort food…for body & soul

    Yes this is a great Friday dish…especially when you’re sick of pizza 😉

  16. 02.21.2008

    Looks delicious!

    Shan’s last blog post..you have got to be kidding me

    And so easy too!

  17. 02.21.2008

    it IS Wednesday
    so i had to pop over and see what yummy thing you were cooking up
    but then
    when i got here
    i remembered that i needed to explore your new set-up
    so that is what i have been doing…
    and WOW,
    OH ,


    you are ~So~ organized over here!
    { you could be an attorney or something }

    i looked at your *books* section
    found out that of the 9 displayed on the first page,
    7 are on my favorite list, too…

    i am not really surprised, though…

    we BOTH have good taste,
    don’t you think??

    somepinkflowers’s last blog post..i’ll be doggone

    I *know* we both have good taste 😉 I’m glad you’ve gotten the chance to look around a bit here–I always have more things I want to add, but as they say in Italy “piano piano.” Slowly, slowly….

  18. 02.21.2008

    That looks yummy and simple to make. My two favorite things.

    Nadine’s last blog post..The Fence

    Me too Nadine!

  19. 02.21.2008

    Sounds delish. I love making quick dishes like this that I call frying pan pastas. And I often use tuna in oil that comes from Genoa. I can only find it in certain supermarkets though.

    Grace’s last blog post..Just For Fun

    Yes I would imagine finding tuna in good oil is hard; I always bought it in water in the US b/c the oil version was…eh….

  20. 02.23.2008

    Michelle, we make this all the time in my family, in just this way. It brought back such happy memories. I’m going to make it tomorrow. Grazie.

    P.S. Your site looks so beautiful and your photos are getting better all the time.

    Thanks Candace; glad to remind you of this wonderful dish and many good memories 🙂

  21. 02.24.2008

    I’ll have to try this one! It looks so delicious and easy enough for me to tackle.

    Debbie Egizio’s last blog post..IF: Multiple

    Extremely easy and *so* tasty! Give it a go!

  22. 03.05.2008

    Wow…sounds delish…just omit the fish….. hee hee

    Dar’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday

    Aw come on–tuna’s not *really* fish 😉

  23. This is a wonderful dish even though I used our boring can of tuna. Love the flavor that lemon added to the entree 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed!

  24. woah this is like my dream come true! will run a close second to the hubbsters lemon risotto 🙂

    silly question: how much pasta would you make for this recipe? 500g?

    michelle Reply:

    Hi Em, I probably do around 350g of pasta with this; I don’t measure, so I’m not sure, but it’s never a whole box…maybe about 3/4 of it, so between 350 and 375, I’d say 🙂

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

Subscribe to Bleeding Espresso by email:

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio

Badolato Rentals

Badolato rentals

Badolato Properties For Sale

Properties for Sale, Badolato, Calabria, Italy

Photo Guide to Badolato On Sale!

Photographic Guide for Badolato, Calabria



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake