Tuna and Spaghetti or else

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The first five words I say when I am about to speak of Italian food is, “When I was in Italy….”   …Oh, I’m sure my family and friends are sick of it by now, but what else can I say, the food in Italy was so spectacular that I have no choice but to reference that boot shape country whenever I speak of its culinary wonders.

When I was in Italy on Christmas Eve, Giovanni’s Uncle Alberto made many extraordinary fish dishes and the other night here I made one of those dishes and I am still reveling in its deliciousness- –Tuna sauce with Spaghetti … –Made correctly you will be hooked forever. –It is uncommonly to die for good.


Alberto is proud of his tuna masterpiece. (Vignola, Italy)


Vito serves it up! (Vignola, Italy)

When I mentioned this dish to a few people they grimaced disapprovingly, but those people think tuna is only for mayonnaise and white bread, and those people are so disturbingly wrong and are no longer my friends. Tuna Sauce is certainly not a new concept, people have been using Tuna this way forever, case in point, when I was in Italy I was told that Nero, the Roman Emperor who was known for enhancing the cultural life of his Empire and commanded that theaters be built and encouraged athletic games, also demanded every Roman Citizen eat Tuna Sauce with spaghetti twice a week or he’d burn anyone who refused to do so to a stake. I am no Nero, but I do demand this recipe be part of your culinary repertoire immediately.

Here is how to do it,

Lots of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
2 carrots
1 half of an onion
red pepper flakes (optional)
a pinch of sugar
salt & pepper
One large jar or two or five small cans of good tuna. (Finally flaked)

Enough tomato sauce to turn the tuna a pinkish red and more of you like it really red.

In a sauté pan heat a good amount of olive oil and sauté the onions and carrots that are finely diced or ground in a food processor.  Add the bay leaf, and then add the flaked tuna and enough tomato sauce to make it turn pink, add more if you want it to have a deeper tomato flavor. Cook and reduce the sauce until it becomes thick and pasty, and the olive oil makes it appearance. This is also good on its own and served on Italian bread!  The oil should be on the heavy side, but not crazy…use your better judgment. Place cook spaghetti (about a pound) into the pan and toss the tuna and oil throughout until it’s all coated.

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About johncpicardi

Welcome to my blog. I am the author of the novel Oliver Pepper's Pickle and the published plays The Sweepers and Seven Rabbits on a Pole, both plays have been produced off Broadway and around the US. I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where I majored in Culinary arts. I have a BA from The University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. This blog is about food and food memories and every other fantastic and scrumptious thing to do with it. My appetite and passion for food is large and runs deep, sometimes its indulgent and wild and other times wholesome and simple, often humorous and always immeasurable. I grew up outside of Boston and spent many hours of my childhood in front of the TV watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child prepare all kinds of luscious meals that would make my mouth water. Other days I’d follow my mother and two grandmothers around their simple, tidy kitchens as they busily prepared hearty fragrant meals, hand-cut pastas, preserved fruits and vegetables, baked yeasty breads, spicy cookies and frosted lopsided cakes. I was there by their side asking questions and helping where needed and there were plenty of times I was ordered to leave if I was in their way. It was a given that by the time I graduated High School I would be going off to Johnson & Wales University to study Culinary Arts. Those years were fine and good. I loved the hands on creativeness of cooking whether it be the simple lesson of washing a sink full of colorful salad greens, trussing a chicken or peeling a gorgeous carrot or the complicated lessons of making a French Country Pate or Julia Child’s Cassoulet or making Brioche, it all thrilled me and my dream had arrived!
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13 Responses to Tuna and Spaghetti or else

  1. 365zen says:

    this sounds interesting!! it doesn’t have a fishy taste to it?? i’ve made canned tuna w/ mac & cheese but never w/ spaghetti! your recipes thus far haven’t disappointed so i may give this a go and hope my picky eater (my 4 yo son) will eat it! haha


    • johncpicardi says:

      No fishy taste, use a bay leaf, its really good…. Thanks for all your nice comments! John

      You’re blog is very nice to read….keep it going!


  2. I used to have a friend who was from Vicenza and he made spaghetti with tuna for us. I loved it and remember being so surprised how delicious it was. Thank you for the recipe. I think I may triy it out!


  3. Tasty Eats says:

    Looks delicious. “Those people” probably have never tried Vitello tonnato… Poor things… 🙂


  4. Never has a recipe stunned my mind and rendered me speechless lol! There’s a 10 year old in me saying, please no tuna casserole. Maybe my taste buds have grown. Enough garlic can make almost anything delicious.


  5. nstewart7 says:

    I’ve always wanted to travel to Italy. For now though, I’ll bring it to me…starting with this lovely dish! Thanks for sharing! :]


  6. Tuna sauce is delicious and so quick and easy to make on a weeknight! My family is Sicilian and my mum makes this all the time!


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