Thursday, January 8, 2015


Farfalle pasta with canned tuna in oil

I don't know how many self-professed "bachelors" are among the readers of this blog, but I'll dedicate this post to them nonetheless. Any of you reading this might know one and send him this recipe to help him through his day. The recipe is for Tuna Pasta, a dish that is mostly, if not exclusively, consumed by Italian bachelors. You might wonder, "Is this pasta going to turn me into one of those suave Italian hunks the whole world cannot take its eyes from?" No, sorry. Those suave Italians à la Marcello Mastroianni, with their impossibly well-fitting suits, their smart and distant gaze, their pitch-perfect flirting skills, and their irresistibly magnetic charm do not cook. They only eat at nice restaurants or cozy trattorie, or they pay a visit to their loving mothers for some exceptional traditional fare. The bachelor I'm talking about is of the familiar dork variety: the one that buys monochrome socks in bulk (I'm not judging, I do the same) and are more than happy to spend their evenings in front of the TV eating the easiest/comfiest meal possible.

The original recipe is very simple. You overcook half a box of short pasta (short pasta requires less water, hence a smaller pan, hence easier dishwashing) and then you plop the contents of a whole can of tuna on top of it. Stir hastily and serve eat.

I have consumed the original tuna pasta in biblical quantities in my life, especially in the years during which my sister and I were living with our divorced dad, who did all the cooking. I remember one glorious 2-week streak of interrupted tuna pasta that finally broke me and helped me decide that I should really learn to cook. So I guess without tuna pasta, there would be no Dead Chef, and what a sad, cold world would that be.

The recipe I want to give you today is an improvement on the basic recipe. It's still simple, but demands the use of a pan to give the tuna some extra flavor. It's comfort food, but with a little more self-respect (let's not kid ourselves, it's delicious!). And sometimes, that's all it takes. Enjoy.

Detail of farfalle pasta with canned tuna and oregano


Makes 2 hefty portions *wink*

1 tbsp EVOO
1–2 anchovies
1 crushed garlic clove
A can of canned tuna in olive oil (like Genova)
1 tbsp dried oregano
Half a box of pasta (spaghetti are best, but short pasta will do)

  • In a large pan, heat the EVOO and then add the anchovies and garlic. Stir the anchovies until they've melted completely. Discard the garlic when it starts to brown.
  • Drain the tuna and then plop it in the pan. Break it with a wooden spoon, trying to keep some larger chunks intact. The oil may splatter at this point; cover with a splatter screen for a few minutes.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes, or until the tuna bits get a little crispy. Add the oregano.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, stir it in the pan with the tuna, add a splash of EVOO and serve.

And since we're making pasta, let's refresh our basic pasta skills:


  1. Ok,but I prefer the original recipe, that you can have in two versions: with tuna-can in oil or with tuna-can in water.
    Simple and fast, enjoy