I love Italian. In what other language could you call something “whore’s spaghetti” and get away with it? It’s great.

And so is the pasta dish!

I had a pack of tuna pieces in the freezer – yes, I”m still cleaning out the freezer – and was looking to do something a bit different with them. My thought when I first bought them up was a bit of an upscale Tuna Sandwich. And a few months later, the sandwiches had not been made.

Time to rethink.

I started thinking about a spaghetti dish with tomatoes, anchovies, capers, olives, garlic… and realized I was describing a fairly classic puttanesca sauce. It figures that my creative juices weren’t even creating something original. Oh well… adding tuna was slightly different. Kinda.

And it came out pretty good for not being all that original! Properly tart, slightly salty, with classic Southern Italian flavors. We’re heading to Sicily next year for a few weeks and I am really looking forward to checking out the seafood there.

I didn’t eat a lot of fish growing up. We had the requisite canned tuna, but fish sticks and the like were never in the house. Some of the first fish I actually remember was H. Salt, Esq. over in Sausalito sometime in the mid-’60s. Malt vinegar was pretty exotic. Seafood was pretty much an afterthought in most of the restaurants I worked in, as well, back in those days. Fried shrimp or Dover sole were pretty much it, except for the annual Cioppino feed at the Riviera.

But that was then, this is now.  And now, I still don’t eat a lot of fish. Although I think I would eat more of it if I cooked more of it like this. It really did have a lot of fun flavors.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca con Tonno

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 can Italian grape tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 cup stuffed green olives
  • 1 lb tuna chunks

Saute onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil until wilted. Add pepper flakes and then anchovies and cook until they dissolve.

Add red wine and cook until it is slightly reduced. Add tomatoes, capers, and olives and heat through.

When sauce is hot, add tuna chunks and simmer until barely cooked through.

Serve over spaghetti.

I can see more of this happening…