Linguine with Canned Tuna, Colatura and Lemon Zest


I don’t know in other countries, but in Italy when you say “pasta with canned tuna” many people think immediately to one of the typical and easiest recipes that students living away from home often do, or single men living alone, or people with few cooking skills, it’s kind of a stereotype 🙂

But in the reality it’s a very common dish, comfortable, and especially if made with some care and good ingredients it can reveal to be very interesting and very enjoyable, especially during the hot days 🙂

This is one of my favorite recipes with canned tuna: a good extra virgin olive oil gives a much better taste and the small spoon of Colatura di Alici (which I already shown how to use it) it’s enough to add a little bit of sea to the dish 🙂  and the lemon (or citron) zest is the final touch to add a nice freshness to the dish. This is all what we need.


Let’s see how to make it!


INGREDIENTS (2 people):

  • 180-200 g of linguine (but also spaghetti are fine)
  • 120-130 g of canned tuna, the drained weight (if you use those in glass jars it’s even better, because they usually have nice big pieces of fillet with a firmer texture)
  • one spoon of Colatura di Alici
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a small bunch of fresh parsley
  • a small piece of chili, and not too strong
  • extra virgin olive oil, a generous amount
  • the zest of about half lemon (or citron), untreated
  • a little bit of lemon/citron juice


  1. The first thing to do is to drain the tuna from it’s preserving oil, you can put it in a colander few minutes.
  2. Then put the drained tuna in a cup, add a generous amount of good extra virgin olive oil and a small spoon of Colatura di Alici. Mix it together and let it rest 10-15 minutes.
  3. Now take a pot and start boiling the pasta in salted water.
  4. In the same time take a pan and heat some extra virgin olive oil.
  5. When the oil is hot enough add the garlic (just hit it with the blade of a knife) and the chili. When the garlic gets some color remove it.
  6. When it’s missing just one minute for the pasta to be ready add the tuna and its oil/sauce in the pan with the olive oil.
  7. Drain the linguine and put them in the pan. Mix all together and add a ladle of boiling water, keep cooking at medium/high heat, just for about 1 minute. Take half lemon and squeeze it a bit over the pan, we don’t need too much juice. Mix.
  8. Add the freshly chopped parsley, mix one last time, and serve it.
  9. Grate some lemon zest over the pasta (it adds a nice freshness and it weakens the sense of oiliness of the canned tuna), add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and enjoy 🙂

PS: no cheese 🙂





Products used:

Pasta: linguine from Pastificio Gentile

Colatura di alici di Cetara



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rowena says:

    In the states I used to make something called Tuna Mac, or tuna mac & cheese. It was easy, quick, and kids loved it, although it isn’t a dish that I would call my favorite. This dish is classy version of tuna with pasta!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When you are in a rush canned tuna can always help for a good pasta. In this case it’s clearly not a “rush recipe”, there are few things to take care and do well, but often I simply add fresh tomatoes, maybe some capers and/or olives, a bit of garlic and parsley, and that’s also a good recipe for an everyday lunch/dinner 🙂


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