Pasta con Tonno e Limone (pasta with tuna and lemon) takes all of 15 mintues sharp to get this easy pasta dinner on the table. It's not just an easy recipe, it's also a simple dish that's smooth and luxurious from the lemon and butter sauce that always makes your taste buds tingle.
This Is Why You'll Love This Pasta con Tonno e Limone
A Few Ingredients: You need a few simple ingredients to make this fantastic meal of which canned tuna is one them. This lemon pasta is light, affordable and tastes like resturant quality food so if this makes sense to you, don't even hesitate, it's worth every forkful!
No Cream: It doesn't need any cream, it's quick, easy and the simplicity is impressive more like Tomato, Bacon and Spaghetti. The irresistible sauce is created by the butter, pasta starches and water making this pasta con tonno e limone proof of the next point, simplicity!
Simplicity: Oh yes, "you have to love the Italians for making food that speaks to you in multiple dialects it tastes that good 🙂 yet still simple. Lemon pasta with tuna is pure and simple magic!
No cheese needed: There is no cheese in this recipe with the exception of freshly grated parmesan before serving. Yes you can add it but it's unnecessay because we have a garlic butter pasta combination that will suffice.
This is what left-over Pasta al Limone looks like. A squeeze of fresh lemon and your favorite spice. Here I've used a pop of color and chili with this spice.
A Pasta con Tonno e Limone Short Story
Spaghetti con tonno (spaghetti and tuna) is a very popular dish among Italians and they love making it. Once again, proving that food never has to be complicated.
Sicily is Italy's largest island in the south of Italy and they have many fishing villages. Seafood is a very large part of their diet, tuna included, so Pasta con Tonno e limone is one hundred percent Sicilian. Known as the "land of lemons" it makes sense that Limoncello is also a product of Sicily.
The ability to make simple delicious plates of pasta that include fresh ingredients has allowed the world to enjoy a very special cusine.
Spaghetti with tuna and lemon is no different and nothing short of sensational!
Some of the key ingredients below
Lemon is not in the image above, but it's in this recipe.
How to Make Lemon Tuna Pasta?
Spaghetti: Alhtough spaghetti is the classic pasta shape for this lemon pasta, you can use any pasta like fusilli, fusillotti, penne, linguine, ziti, fettucini and so many more.
Butter: It should be called butter pasta! The butter adds an overall richness and with the fresh lemon, it's fabulously gorgeous!
Lemon and Lemon Zest: One of the key ingredients and it brightens up the flavors perfectly.
Red Onions or Shallots: I use our home-grown sweet shallots, they have much less bite and a mild delicous sweetness. Great for salads. Shallots or red onion, both work. Just cook the onion a minute or so longer than shallots.
Garlic Cloves: I love fried red onion and garlic in butter, it's the beginning of a great dish!
Canned Tuna in Oil: Yes you can use tuna in brine but if you use tuna in oil, there's no need to add oil to the pan, simply use what you need from the tuna.
Anchovies (chopped): Salty umami flavor, can't say no. Not authentic to lemon pasta but close enough and we love anchovy recipes like this Spaghetti With Anchovies, Garlic, Olives and Parmesan. If you don't like anchovies, leave them out, the star of this dish is the tuna, lemon and pasta.
Fresh Parsley (chopped): Add fresh parsely at the end both in the pasta tuna and to garnish.
Salt and Pepper: You need seasoning for the structure of the dish. We use this one.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: We use the oil from the canned tuna to fry the onion and garlic. If you are using tuna in brine, then you need 2 tablespoons of oil to fry the onions. For all our recipes, we use this olive oil range.
Parmesan Cheese: At the end of the dish, just before serving.
How To Make Pasta al Limoni (Pasta with Lemon)
Cook the pasta: Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water. Always reserve some pasta water incase you need it later. It helps create a lovely sauce.
Make the butter sauce: Take some oil from the canned tuna and fry the onions and garlic. Add the butter, salt and pepper. Wait 2 minutes for the butter to foam.
Lemon and cooked pasta: Add the lemon juice, give the pan a swirl and add the cooked pasta. With a pair of tongs, lift and mix the pasta into the butter lemon sauce.
Tuna, Anchovies and Zest: Add the tuna, chopped anchovies and lemon zest with a little pasta water to create more of a sauce. Mix and done!
Serve: Serve tuna lemon and anchovy pasta hot with fresh black pepper and freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy!
We eat a lot of pasta and when we are exhausted from a long day, we always find ourselves with a variation of this recipe. Here are a few;
Seafood: Pasta with salmon and lemon, enough said! Just like this lemon tuna pasta, it's a cream-free recipe.
Garden herbs: I would not be doing this post any justice if I did include my Green Sauce With Fresh Herbs and lemon! What a load of flavors from something so simple.
So really, you can add chicken to the finished pasta con tonno e limone or fish would be lovely.
What You Will Need To Make This Recipe
Pasta Pot: For cooking the pasta. Any large pot, pasta needs space to circulate while cooking.
Non Stick Skillet: Is the beginning to make cooking a pleasure.
Colander: To drain the pasta (unless it's a pasta pot with colander in one).
Citrus Juicer: It doesn't get any easier. You can use any one, I still love my old fashioned squeeze half the lemon over the top gadget. Sometimes I feel fancy and use the one with a handle 🙂
Storing Pasta con Tonne e Limone
Storage: This pasta dish is best served freshly prepared and hot. However, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Reheat / Stovetop: Rewarm this lemon tuna pasta over medium-low heat. You may need to add a splash of water and a squeeze of fresh lemon to re-create the sauce.
Freeze: Freeze in an air-tight container, well sealed, up to 3 months. Don't forget to thaw completely before reheating.
What To Serve With Lemon Tuna Pasta
We love this pasta on its own but sometimes a side dish is complementary.
Salad: Cumber and Onion Salad keeping it simple.
Vegetables: If there's a crowd, it's always a good idea to add a veggie like Bok Choy Side Dish that's very quick and easy. If time permits, this Roasted Vegetables it's a lovely combination of bell peppers, carrots and brussel sprouts.
Lemon Tuna Pasta (Pasta con Tonno e Limone)
- 400 g 14oz spaghetti, fettuccine etc.
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 small shallot or ¼ red onion diced
- 170 g 6oz canned tuna
- 1 large lemon + zest more for finishing
- 4 anchovies chopped
- Fresh parsley chopped
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil or oil from the tuna
- Parmesan cheese
- 1. Cook the pasta: Bring a pot of salted water to boil. A larger pot that's filled with water (covering the pasta) is best. Pasta needs circulation to cook al dente. Only add the pasta when the water is boiling and cook to the package instructions. Reserve a cup of starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta and let it stand in the colander while you make this quick sauce.
- 2. Make the sauce: Halfway through the pasta cooking, use 2 tablespoons of oil from the canned tuna to fry the onions and garlic in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat.
- 3. Butter: Add the butter, salt and pepper and give it a few minutes, about 2 minutes for the butter to foam. You will notice the butter change from yellow to darker yellow, add the lemon juice.
- 4. Add the cooked pasta: Give the pan a swirl, add the cooked pasta and with a pair of tongs, lift and mix the pasta into the butter lemon sauce.
- 5. Tuna, Anchovies and Zest: Add the tuna, chopped anchovies and lemon zest with a little pasta water to create more of a sauce. Mix and done!
- 6. Serve: Serve tuna lemon and anchovy pasta hot with fresh black pepper and lemons. Enjoy!