Last Updated on February 21, 2023

Tuna pasta with capers

Today I am cooking tuna pasta for two, using fresh tuna. It’s a fairly simple dish but as with everything I cook, I like to do it with an Italian twist. I am Sicilian after all!


You can adapt the ingredients to suit your needs but these are the ingredients I used and recommend:

  • Fresh tuna (if need be you can use tinned tuna but fresh tuna is better)
  • Penne pasta
  • 3 or 4 small onions (I use shallots)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • One red pepper
  • 10 or so cherry tomatoes
  • Capers (ideally in salt but in brine is okay. You can do this without capers but capers do add extra flavor)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Chilli powder (or your chosen spice to add some extra taste)

Cooking Steps

1. Start by chopping up the onions and the garlic into small pieces.

2. Then slice up the tuna into small cubes.

3. Next dice up the red pepper into small pieces.

4. Add the capers to the frying pan and then add a reasonable amount of extra virgin olive oil with the heat on medium.

5. Put the diced peppers, onions and garlic into the pan and gently mix the ingredients.

6. Add the tuna to the frying pan and gently mix again.

7. Half fill a large saucepan with boiling hot water and add the pasta.

8. Then add some tomato puree to the ingredients in the frying pan.

9. At this point, if you wish to, you can also add spices to give it some further taste. I like to add some freshly crushed Hungarian paprika (I buy it from Best of Hungary on Amazon). You can also Google ‘Eros Pista’ to find it.

I also usually add some ‘Zhoug‘. This is an Arabian sauce that I like to use in my cooking sometimes. It’s made up of cilantro leaves, chopped garlic, chili peppers, spices and olive oil and it can also be bought quite easily online.

10. Then very gently mix it and then add the cherry tomatoes which you will have sliced into halves.

11. I then add one to three scoops of water from the saucepan where the pasta is boiling into the frying pan, just to add some more moisture for the ingredients to simmer in.

12. The sauce is ready when it is dense, but not too dry, and it holds the ingredients together well.

13. Once the pasta is ready, drain away the water and then put the pasta into the frying pan and gently mix everything.

The sauce and tuna should be nicely mixed with the pasta.

Rather than just putting the pasta on a plate and then putting the tuna and sauce on top of the pasta (a common way in the UK), instead, mix the pasta and ingredients in the pan.

You are looking to have the sauce and tuna in the pasta rather than on top of it, i.e., the Italian way.

Watch the Video

Valeria’s Final Thoughts

This is really a quite simple dish to do and can be made quite easily within 30 minutes.

You get the lovely taste of the tuna but complimented beautifully with the zhoug, the crushed paprika, and the capers.

The ingredients are really quite easy to buy and I think you will love this dish when you taste it!