Ciao Amici! We’re back with an easy and delicious pasta recipe. This dish is very dear to my heart as it was the first dish I ever learned to make and it was my Nonna’s favorite. Plus, it is so easy and quick to make that literally anyone can make it!
When I was a little girl, probably eleven or twelve, my mother taught me how to make this pasta recipe. It was my very first attempt at cooking unsupervised. That day my Nonna said to me “Michè, chesta pastà potrèbb i’ nnanze o’ re” which loosely translates to “This pasta is so good you could serve it to a king”. Soon after she declared that was her favorite pasta and that from that moment on I was in charge of making that dish.
I’m sure that was an exaggeration, but it gave me that little boost I needed to get in the kitchen, learn from her, and make her happy. I’ve learned so much from my Nonna. She was not a perfect woman by all means. She had flaws, a sharp tongue, and made mistakes, but she was strong (literally and figuratively), dedicated, and loving. Nonna Iolanda was the bravest woman I ever met. She loved all of us unconditionally and fully until the day, she went to be with the Lord.
Living in a small fishermen town on the Mediterranean cost meant we would eat fresh fish on a regular basis. My Nonna would make the best-marinated anchovies, fried sardines, salted cod, and roasted bream. Tuna, on the other hand, we would just by jars of fresh tuna preserved in olive oil at the fish market. It tasted wonderful. A lot of the times we would use it to make pasta al tonno, cold salads, or just eat it with some bread. You can’t go wrong.
In all honesty, we also used canned tuna a lot. Italian canned tuna tastes a lot better than American tuna. First off, all Italian canned tuna is preserved in water. Secondly, each can contains an actual fillet piece, so imagine my reaction when I opened my first can of chunk light tuna in water. I thought I had been ripped off. It took me several months to figure out the closest brand to Italian tuna. Starkist yellow-fin tuna in vegetable oil definitely takes the prize. It is chunky, does not taste fishy, and it is preserved in oil.
This pasta is so easy to make and very quick. I usually start boiling water for the pasta right before I get started with the sauce. The sauce does not take much to cook. About 10 minutes.
Here are a few tips for taking this recipe to the next level:
- Don’t burn the garlic. It seems silly, but burnt garlic will ruin your recipe. It will give it a bitter flavor to it.
- Don’t have whole peeled tomatoes? No problem. This recipe works with fresh, diced, crushed tomatoes, and even tomato sauce.
- Be careful when pouring your tomatoes into the saucepan. If your oil is very hot, it will squirt as soon as it comes in contact with the tomato.
- Don’t like/allergic to tuna? No worries, you can substitute canned chicken for tuna. Chicken on pasta is not an Italian combination, but sometimes you gotta do what is good for you.
So without any further ado, let’s look at the recipe!
- Pasta con Tonno
- 14 oz whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 can (5oz) Solid White Albacore tuna in vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lb pasta
- In a large saucepan, start by warming up the oil and sauté the minced garlic. Make sure not to burn the garlic.
- Add the peeled tomatoes. Let them simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes until tender.
- With a spatula or wooden spoon, gently mash the tomatoes into smaller pieces. Keep cooking for 10 more minutes until the sauce starts reducing.
- Cook pasta according to box's directions and drain it.
- Add salt and parsley.
- Add the tuna to the sauce. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
- Add pasta to saucepan and stir until well combined.
- Serve your pasta right away and enjoy.