Tuna and Basil Pasta

October 12, 2012 — Leave a comment

Its possible the use of tinned tuna may offend some purists out there, but this recipe has a bit of a story to it so the tin stays

Around 2001 I left advertising and had a period of about nine months where I wasn’t working, which significantly affected my diet – bear in mind a key part of my job was to entertain clients and media reps so I ate well and I ate out a lot

During that 9 months my diet largely consisted of tuna pasta – so much so, for a long time I couldn’t face the prospect of eating it

Nevertheless, I did manage to eventually work up a decent version – when I first started it was two minute noodles with tuna and onion, so it has come a long way

You could make this with freshly seared tuna, but for me at least that would ruin the nostalgia, and honestly, if you get some fantastic bread and wine and use the freshest produce you can find, this tastes pretty good

I don’t use a lot of tuna, I think the hint of it works really nicely with the chilli, tomato, basil, and wine

I’ll have a play down the track with some fusilli and beans to make a pasta bake


95g tuna in oil (the best you’re prepared to pay for)

1x small red onion

3-4 cloves garlic

About 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves

3-4 small red chillies

About 1/3 cup of white wine – my reference is a schluck but that might have something to do with the time I spent in Germany  (This cuts through the tomato and gives a hint of sweetness – could use a little bit of sugar if you don’t want/have wine)

200g spaghetti no. 5 (more if you’re not having starters and dessert!)

1x can diced or whole tomatoes

2x tbs tomato paste

Extra virgin olive oil and butter

Continental pasley


Soften half of the basil (finely chopped), garlic, onion, and chilli in a healthy bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt

Add tomatoes and tomato paste and reduce heat

Once simmering add the wine and tuna

Cook for about 5-10 minutes

Add in remainder of the basil (roughly torn), season to taste

When you strain the pasta give it a good coverage of oil

Sprinkle of chopped parsley and a little bit more oil to serve

Some nice bread and a glass of your wine!

Total time: 20 mins

Serves: 2-4


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