Creamy Tuna Pasta

4.85 from 13 votes

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You are going to love this Creamy Pasta with Tuna. My 🎄 Christmas Eve is just not the same without this bowl of pasta. Steve’s uncle inspired this recipe. Zio Iginio was born and raised in Trento, in the Northern part of 🇮🇹 Italy. He lived in the mountains right on the border of Austria and made this dish for us all the time. This is my take on his pasta with tuna, and hopefully, it honors him today. Rip Zio Jimmy, we all miss you and love you.

Why You’ll Love This Creamy Tuna Pasta

The tuna is cooked to golden perfection in a mix of butter and olive oil and complements the al-dente pasta beautifully. This recipe is a great option for a regular weeknight, as it comes together quickly, or you can use it for special occasions such as my family does on 🎄 Christmas Eve. A bit of pepper adds a nice 🔥 kick, and using the starchy pasta water makes the dish so creamy. Feel free to top it with fresh Parmesan Reggiano or chili oil for extra flavor.

How to Prepare Creamy Tuna Pasta

🔥 Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet on medium heat until it shimmers.

🐟 Drain oil or water from tuna and add it to the skillet. Break up and cook until the tuna is golden. Season with pepper and remove from heat.

💦 Boil your preferred pasta in salted water until al dente.

⭐ Once the tuna is golden, remove it from heat, then add the cooked pasta to the skillet along with some pasta starchy water.

🌶️ Top the dish with fresh Parmesan (not traditional) or chili oil.

❤️ Share and enjoy the recipe with your loved ones.

Nonna’s Tip

Please adjust the pasta water according to how creamy you like your dish. The pasta water should be as salty as the sea, as this is your only chance to flavor the pasta.

Creamy Tuna Pasta

Variations and Substitutions for Creamy Tuna Pasta

Whether you’re looking to add more flavors, experiment with different proteins, or accommodate dietary preferences, these options allow you to make the recipe to suit your taste.

  1. Instead of canned tuna, you can use canned salmon or 🐟 fresh tuna; just be sure to cook it according to your taste and doneness preferences.
  2. You can certainly experiment with various pasta shapes and types, like spaghetti, fettuccine, penne, or even whole wheat pasta for a healthier option.
  3. If you need to make this dish gluten-free, you can substitute traditional wheat pasta with gluten-free alternatives such as rice or quinoa pasta.
  4. Add minced 🧄 garlic to the butter and olive oil for a garlic-infused flavor.
  5. Toss in some capers or chopped olives or include chopped fresh 🌿 herbs such as parsley, basil, or dill for added freshness.
  6. I recommend Parmesan Reggiano but you could try other 🧀 cheeses such as Pecorino Romano, Asiago, or feta for different flavor options.
  7. To make a vegetarian version, replace the tuna with chickpeas, white beans, or sautéed mushrooms.

Other Seafood Recipes

Best Served With

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Kitchen Favorite
  • Description:

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Best Measuring Set
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Favorite Salt
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Kitchen Favorite
Description:

Sauté, fry, or simmer on the stovetop or bake, roast, broil, or braise in the oven up to 400 degrees F with this handy casserole skillet.

5.0
$58.88
Best Measuring Set
Description:

This is my favorite set. I have had mine for 10 years and need a new one. Highly recommend!

4.9
$27.99
Favorite Salt
Description:

This is the salt that I have used for years in all my cooking!

4.9
$20.99 ($0.40 / Ounce)
03/20/2024 04:31 am GMT

Common Questions

Can I use more tuna than suggested?

Yes, you can use as much or as little tuna as you like, and this would be lovely with salmon or chicken too. Measure with your heart!

How much pasta water should I use?

Please adjust the pasta water according to how creamy you like your dish. The pasta water should be as salty as the sea, and this is your only chance to flavor the pasta.

What type of salt do you use?

I use Redmond Real Salt, please note that depending on the salt you use, your dish may be less or more salty. Salt is to taste so please always taste and adjust as you cook.

Can I skip the parmesan?

Grated parm is optional; not traditional but delicious. Make sure it’s a good-quality block of Parmigiano Reggiano. 

Creamy Tuna Pasta

Creamy Tuna Pasta

This delicious recipe is a great option for a regular weeknight, as it comes together quickly, or you can use it for special occasions such as my family does on 🎄 Christmas Eve.
4.85 from 13 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 3
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 cans tuna, large cans without the liquid
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch pepper , to taste
  • 250 grams pasta, short pasta of choice
  • pasta water, two ladles
  • chili peppers , optional
  • parmigiano , optional

Instructions 

  • In a skillet on medium heat add the butter and olive oil and make sure it shimmers.
  • Drain the oil or water from the tuna and add it to the butter and olive oil. Break it up and cook until the tuna “pops” and it’s nice and golden.
  • Add some pepper to taste and take it off the heat. In the meantime, make sure you are boiling the pasta of choice in salted water until al-dente.
  • When the tuna is nice and golden take the pan off the heat completely. Once the pasta has finished boiling, add it to the pan with the tuna and ladle in the starchy pasta water (liquid gold) a little at a time. Stir gently until creamy.
  • Top it off with some fresh Parm or chilli oil and don’t forget to share this recipe with your love ones. Enjoy.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 594kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 341mg, Potassium: 342mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 632IU, Calcium: 39mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

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4.85 from 13 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this creamy Tuna pasta today for dinner, it’s so delicious, simple & yummy yum yum. Everybody in the house love it and they want me to make it again tomorow😋😁.Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Beautiful!! You’re so welcome, Olabisi! So glad everyone loved it – I am always so happy when families enjoy my recipes together, it warms my heart! 🥰❤️

  2. Had the ingredients and not much time. Whipped this up and it was really good. I had some smoky cheddar I mixed in and sprinkled on top (no Parmesan). Hard to believe how creamy a little pasta water made it!

    1. Hi Adam,
      super happy you loved it. The pasta water is liquid gold and binds ANY sauce together 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This has been on my to cook list for two weeks. Just whipped it up and lunch and could not believe how good it was for being so simple. Big shout out to sunrise flour mill out of Minnesota for my HERITAGE FUSILLI PASTA! Organic and so delicious. This recipe is now a staple. Tuna took me about 10 minutes to brown!