Penne with Fresh Tuna and a Saffron Cream Sauce

Penne al Tonno e Zafferano

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta

Giuliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pasta

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2009

  • About

Saffron and seafood go very well together and I find fresh tuna is particularly well suited to the delicate flavor of saffron. I prefer the taste of saffron in strands rather than powdered. To extract its flavor, its necessary to let the saffron steep in the hot cream.


  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • About 20 saffron strands
  • 3–4 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • ¾ pound fresh tuna
  • Salt
  • 1 pound penne
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the heavy cream in a small saucepan. Crumble the saffron strands between your fingers into the pan. Cover and place over very low heat.
  2. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  3. Finely chop enough parsley to measure about 1 tablespoon. Cut the tuna into ½-inch dice.
  4. When the water for the pasta is boiling, add about 2 tablespoons salt, add the penne, and stir well. Cook until al dente.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, peel and lightly crush the garlic and put it with the butter in a 12-inch skillet. Sauté until the garlic is lightly browned on all sides, then remove and discard. Add the tuna to the pan, season with salt and pepper, raise the heat to high, and cook until it is seared on all sides, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-high and add the hot cream and saffron and the parsley. Cook until the cream has thickened a little, 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  6. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce, and serve at once.