Spaghetti al Tonno

Pasta with Tuna Sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 or 5

Appears in

This takes the previous recipe one step further. It’s a bit more filling, as chopped onion is sautéed in the olive oil, and canned tuna and capers are tossed in to the basic anchovy-garlic sauce at the last minute, In Italy, the tuna is usually canned, but you could use fresh tuna, broiled or baked. Sometimes tomato is added, sometimes not.


  • 1 pound long pasta such as spaghetti
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 12 salt-packed anchovies, filleted, rinsed and very finely chopped, or 24 olive oil-packed fillets (about one 3-ounce jar), drained and very finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 can (6 ounces) olive oil-packed tuna, preferably Italian (see recipe introduction), drained and broken up
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped canned plum tomatoes (optional)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the pasta, stir well, and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the anchovies, garlic, and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Add the tuna and capers and the tomatoes and lemon zest, if using, and cook until warm, about 2 minutes.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce in the pan. Toss well to coat, then stir for a minute or two to flavor the pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.