Pasta Pomodoro with Tuna and Capers

Warm up quickly with spicy tomato and tuna pasta.

Pasta Pomodoro with Tuna and Capers
If you want to use fresh pasta in this recipe, simply switch the order of preparation to make the sauce first and cook the pasta while the sauce is simmering, as fresh pasta takes only 1-2 minutes to cook.

I'm not glutenphobic or a carb-hater by any means, but my go-to meals at home in my adult life have rarely been pasta. Bulgur, barley, buckwheat? Definitely, but pasta? Infrequent, if ever. This routine changed when my pasta maker-wielding partner moved in. Making pasta from scratch transforms it from a vehicle for sauce and other ingredients to a culinary star that shines all on its own. It has also allowed for experimentation with combinations of flours, such as spelt and semolina.

The inspiration for this recipe came from a dinner at Boot and Shoe Service, with adaptations including whole wheat spaghetti in place of classic, more tuna in the sauce, and red pepper flakes. The great thing about this pasta is it can be made almost entirely from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen right now (or you can purchase at any time because they do not go bad) and it's incredibly quick, as a pasta meal should be. Serves 2. 

For homemade pasta, use a 1:1 combination of spelt or whole wheat and semolina flours.
  • 4 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 oil-packed anchovy, chopped (optional)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (reserve water)
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (5 to 6-ounces) good quality tuna, drained and flaked*
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Grated parmesan cheese and black pepper (optional) 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spaghetti to “al dente” (cooked, but still firm), for 9-11 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil. 

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium. Add garlic and anchovies and cook until garlic is golden, stirring and breaking up anchovy with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add reserved water from the tomato can as needed to prevent tomatoes from sticking to the skillet. 

Once tomato consistency is sauce-like and thick, stir in tuna and capers and cook for another 2 minutes. Divide sauce evenly over cooked pasta and top with parsley and optional parmesan and black pepper. Serve hot.

*To use oil-packed tuna, drain the tuna and use oil from can in place of olive oil. Also be sure to refer to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide for sustainable canned tuna choices.

Serve with: Roasted cauliflower-kale salad with citrus peel and nutmeg.