Keep a few store cupboard staples on hand, and you can whip up this easy creamy tuna pasta recipe in less than 30 minutes. A great meal to have up your sleeve when you don’t feel like cooking.
Total Time Investment: 25 minutes
If you’ve taken my free 9 Day Challenge, you will know that I am big on having at least one recipe that you know off the top of your head and can whip up with your eyes closed. A recipe that takes little time or effort to cook, and for which you always have the ingredients on hand. For me, this creamy tuna pasta is that recipe.
I like to keep a well stocked store cupboard. With a stack of essentials I can always whip something up for dinner, even if the day goes completely off the rails and I can’t cook from my menu plan. I rely heavily on my pantry, fridge and freezer to create easy meals at a moments notice. Crammed with simple basics like pasta and rice, garlic, sour cream, cheese, dried chillis, canned goods, a few herbs, eggs and bacon (always bacon) I can always manage to rustle up something to eat, even if it is only an omelette.
Pasta is nearly always my fallback recipe when it comes to emergency meals. Whether it be meatballs nestled in my home-canned tomato pasta sauce, a speedy pesto pasta, or even just a simple sauce of olive oil, garlic and chilli. The only downside to these pasta meals is that they really need a good dusting of Parmesan cheese to finish them off, and there are (rare) occasions when there is none to be had in the fridge. I could, in a pinch, use cheddar, but it’s really not the same. Which is why I love this creamy tuna pasta so much – it requires no Parmesan to finish it off.Keep a few #storecupboard staples on hand, & you can whip up this #creamy #tuna #pasta #recipe in under #30minutes. #Easy to make, and loved by all #family. #dinner #kids #weeknightmeals Click To Tweet
I am never without the ingredients for this creamy tuna pasta recipe in my kitchen. The minute I make the dish, any ingredients used go straight onto the shopping list. This is a well loved family favorite, and as I know the recipe off by heart it requires no mental effort on my part to make it. Absolutely perfect for those days when nothing goes to plan.
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Ingredient Substitutions for This Creamy Tuna Pasta Recipe
It is difficult to suggest substitutions for this recipe. Over the years I’ve tried slight variations and the finished creamy tuna pasta is never quite as good. However I have provided a few options for minor substitutions below, so you don’t need to make a last minute dash to the shops
- If you are unable to source fresh parsley, and have none in the freezer, you could add 1 Tablespoon of dried parsley flakes to the dish or just omit the parsley altogether.
- Bottled lemon juice can be used in place of the fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice is not as sharp as fresh juice, so use an additional tablespoon of the bottled juice in the recipe to account for this.
- Replace the sour cream with double cream or creme fraiche. If using double cream, add a little extra lemon juice to balance out the creaminess of the sauce.
- Leave out the capers if you don’t have them/don’t like them. I’ve forgotten to include them on occasion and the creamy tuna pasta is still delicious.
- Use gluten free pasta to make the dish gluten free.
Frequently Asked Questions About Creamy Tuna Pasta
What herbs go well with tuna pasta? The best herbs to use with tuna pasta are fresh parsley and fresh dill.
Can you reheat pasta and tuna? You can reheat pasta and tuna. Some recipes reheat better than others though. I reheat leftovers of this recipe in the oven at about 180C for about 10 – 15 minutes. A tuna pasta bake, made with bechamel sauce, reheat better than most tuna pasta recipes.
How long can you keep tuna pasta bake in the fridge? Creamy tuna pasta, or tuna pasta bake, will keep in the fridge for two days.
Tips & Tricks for Delicious Creamy Tuna Pasta
I make this creamy tuna pasta recipe at least once a month, and along the way I have learnt a few tricks to make this recipe taste delicious:
- I grow my own parsley, and have my own lemon tree, so these particular fresh ingredients are usually on hand – except in summer when the tree goes bare and the parsley bolts to seed. To keep my store cupboard well stocked, I freeze produce when it is abundant.
- Chopped parsley freezes particularly well. If you are buying your parsley from the supermarket, wash and chop it as soon as you get it home. Store it in the freezer in an airtight container or a zip lock bag. Frozen parsley is not really suitable for garnishing a dish as it goes a little limp when defrosted, but it is great for incorporating into dishes, and is perfect in this creamy tuna pasta.
- To preserve lemon juice, squeeze the lemons when abundant and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Store the cubes in zip lock bags, and drop them directly into dishes as you cook. Or defrost as required for use in cakes or other dishes.
- This creamy tuna pasta is best made with tuna canned in olive oil. I have made it with tuna in spring water and it is not as good. Don’t use tuna canned in brine or the final dish will be too salty. Drain the tuna well before it is added to the fry pan.
- I have made this creamy tuna pasta recipe with spaghetti, penne and any other pasta shape I have found in the cupboard. My preference though is fusilli, a corkscrew shaped pasta that holds the sauce perfectly.
- Salted capers work better in this dish than capers preserved in vinegar. I just soak the capers in a little water whilst I prepare the other ingredients, then drain them just before I add them to the fry pan. If you only have capers in vinegar, rinse them well before adding them to the sauce.
- I prefer to serve the cayenne pepper on the side, which allows everybody to add as much, or as little, as they would like. That strategy works well when serving this dish as a family meal, as you can omit the cayenne pepper from the children’s meals. The cayenne can be added directly to the sauce if you prefer.
One year ago: Leftover Roasted Vegetable Frittata
Two years ago: Instant Wholegrain Waffle Mix
Three years ago: How To Make Dukkah
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Easy Creamy Tuna Pasta
- 500 g (4 cups) fusilli pasta
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 425 g (15 oz) tuna in olive oil drained
- 2 Tablespoons salted capers rinsed
- 1 lemon juiced
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) sour cream
- 2 Tablespoons parsley chopped
- Salt & pepper
- Cayenne pepper to serve
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat a large fry pan over a medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and onion, and cook for about five minutes, or until the onion is golden brown.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the drained tuna to the pan, and fry for 1 minute.
- Add the rinsed capers and lemon juice to the pan. Cook for a further 2 minutes, or until the lemon juice is reduced to a sticky sauce.
- Stir the sour cream and parsley through the tuna, and season with salt and pepper. The sauce will look slightly dry at this stage, which is exactly how it should look.
- The pasta should be ready by this stage. Reserve a large cupful of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. If the pasta is not ready, turn the heat off under the tuna sauce until the pasta is ready.
- Add the drained pasta to the fry pan, and stir the pasta through the sauce. Add enough of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce to your liking.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with cayenne pepper. Or you can do what I do, and take the cayenne pepper to the table so everyone can add their own.
- I use tuna in olive oil for this recipe. I have tried tuna in springwater in this recipe and don't like it as much. Do not use tuna in brine as it will be too salty.
- I always serve the cayenne pepper separately to allow each member of the family to add it to their own desired level of heat. Feel free to add cayenne pepper to the pasta sauce when you add the other seasonings.
Update notes: This post was updated on 14th June 2018 to include additional information on FAQ’s, to update alt tags on photos and to include calls to action.