Quick and Easy Tuna Pasta

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One of my favorite quick and easy dinners to whip up when I get home after work is this tuna bucatini pasta.  With spinach, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan, this dish is healthy and tasty!

Tuna bucatini pasta - finished product

This pasta dish uses one of my favorite pantry staples - canned tuna - and adds a vibrant flavor using fresh cherry tomatoes and spinach.  The simple, but flavorful ingredients used in this recipe really makes the dish stand out.

Tuna pasta ingredients

How to Make the Best Tuna Pasta

You will find the full recipe below, but here are some extra tips to help knock this meal out of the park:

  • First, we'll bring the water to a boil while we prepare the remaining ingredients - this is part of what makes this meal so quick to cook!  Another time-saver is to microwave your garlic cloves for 10 seconds.  This makes them pop out of their papery shells and they are much easier to put through a garlic press.
  • Next, we'll add the pasta to the boiling water.  I like to use bucatini pasta, but any long noodle will work just fine with this recipe.  We want to cook the pasta to al dente, which is still firm to the bite.
  • At this point, we will add the olive oil from the canned tuna into the hot skillet, this is important because the oil from the tuna is what gives the pasta it's great flavor!  We will then add the garlic and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes start to get soft.  The last items to add to the skillet are the tuna and spinach, which don't need much time to cook.  I would recommend waiting until just before the pasta is ready to add these to the skillet.
  • Once we've finished cooking the pasta and the tuna mixture, I recommend adding a couple of spoonfuls of pasta water to the skillet.  This helps the sauce stick to the pasta once we add it to the skillet.
  • Almost there! we'll drain the pasta and add it to the skillet to mix the tuna and vegetables in.  
  • Lastly, we'll add the parmesan cheese.  Since the cheese is going to be a prominent part of this dish, I recommend splurging for a high quality cheese such as Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano and grating it yourself.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and dinner is ready!
Easy Tuna Pasta

Variations

If you don't want to use canned tuna, you can try any of these variations:

  • a skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • two strips of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • one cup of sliced mushrooms
  • for a gluten free option, swap for brown rice pasta

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Quick and Easy Tuna Pasta

This quick and easy tuna pasta will be a family favorite for weeknight meals!

Author:
Kirsten

Ingredients

  • approximately 12 cups, or 2/3 of a pot of water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 200g bucatini noodles
  • 1 can of tuna packed in olive oil (do not drain)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (approximately 1 pint), halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, ripped into bite sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley, for serving

Instructions

  1. Fill a large pot 2/3 full with water, add salt and bring to a boil.  Add pasta to boiling water and cook to al dente according to pasta package instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet on medium and add oil from the can of tuna when the pan is hot.  Add garlic and cherry tomatoes and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes.
  3. Flake tuna with a fork and add to the skillet.  Add spinach and red pepper flakes and cook until spinach is wilted, approximately 1 minute.  Remove from heat.
  4. Once pasta has cooked, add 3 tsp of pasta water to skillet and mix well.  Drain pasta and add to the skillet and combine with the tuna and vegetables.
  5. Add parmesan cheese to the skillet, add cracked salt and pepper to taste; mix well.
  6. Serve with an additional sprinkle of parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

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