Why Tuna Tomato Pasta Is a Great Family Meal:
- Pantry Ingredients: The majority of the ingredients for this dish are pantry based. Great for when a trip to the supermarket is needed but you don’t have the time!
- Quick to Make: With very little prep work and short cooking times you can have this meal on the table in around 15 mins.
- Budget-Friendly: No fancy ingredients, a budget-friendly yet tasty dish.
- Easily Adapted: Boost the veggie content by sauteeing a chopped bell pepper along with the onions or throw in some frozen peas along with the tuna. Turn up the flavour with some chopped anchovies, capers, chilli flakes, fresh/dried herbs or a good splash of Tobasco.
- Pasta: Because most kids love pasta!
- Pasta: Any pasta shape will work, go with your favourite or what you have available. You can use dried or fresh.
- Canned Tuna: Canned tuna in olive oil works best. If you use tuna in brine/water then you may need to add a little extra olive oil to the dish.
- Onion: Adds flavour, if your children really don’t like “bits” you could try mincing the onion.
- Garlic: Adds flavour, add as little or as much as your family would like.
- Olives: The olives really do add a lovely flavour but they can easily be skipped or you could replace with a few capers.
- Canned Tomatoes: You can use crushed or chopped and if you prefer a smoother sauce you can replace with passata.
- Seasoning: This dish does benefit from a little seasoning. If serving a baby, remove their portion before seasoning.
- Herbs and Cheese: Top with some freshly chopped parsley and a little parmesan cheese (optional)
- Saute: Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, reduce to medium-low and cook for around five minutes, until turned translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Allowing the onion to saute for this time releases the sweetness and softens the onion (making it tastier and more kid-friendly)
- Simmer: Add the canned tomatoes and olives, breaking down any larger tomato pieces with a wooden spoon. Allow simmering for 2 mins.
- Simmer: Add the tuna (drained) to the pan, breaking up any chunks of tuna with a wooden spoon. Allow simmering for 10-15 mins. Taste and season accordingly (do not season if serving a baby.) The sauce is quite thick and chunky. You can thin it down, if preferred, by adding a little more chopped tomatoes.
- Stir: Add the cooked pasta (cook pasta while the sauce is simmering, drain and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid). Stir pasta through the sauce and if it seems a little dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water and stir through.
Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions
- Make-Ahead: If you like to make meals ahead of time (because we all know what kids can be like at 5pm!) then you can certainly do this with this dish. Prepare the sauce and cook the pasta but do not combine until you are ready to serve. Reheat the sauce and stir through the pasta until hot throughout.
- Leftovers: You can refrigerate leftovers, in an airtight container, for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. You may need to add a little extra chopped tomato to thin the sauce out. You could also try adding a little stock.
- Freeze: Make the tuna tomato sauce in advance and freeze in airtight containers/zip lock bags for up to 2 months.
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Tuna Tomato Pasta
- 375g / 12 oz Dry pasta Shape of choice
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Onion finely chopped
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic
- 600g / 21oz Canned Chopped Tomatoes (Equivalent to 1 & ½ 400g / 14oz can)
- 30g (¼ cup) Kalamata Olives Chopped
- 2 x 145g (5oz) Cans of Tuna in Olive Oil Drained (total drained weight 204g)
Pasta (cook while sauce is simmering)
- Cook the pasta according to the packaging. Drain reserving around ½ cup of cooking liquid
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, reduce to medium-low and cook for around five minutes, until turned translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the canned tomatoes and olives, breaking down any larger tomato pieces with a wooden spoon. Allow to simmer for 2 mins.
- Add the tuna (drained) to the pan, breaking up any chunks of tuna with a wooden spoon. Allow simmering for 10-15 mins. Taste and season accordingly (do not season if serving a baby.)
- Add the cooked pasta and stir into the sauce. If the pasta seems a little dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water and stir through.
*This post was first published Jan 2016, it has been updated with new photos and ingredient information.