Penne with Tuna and Red Onion

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

The combination of tuna, anchovies, capers, garlic, and parsley is traditional in Mediterranean cooking, particularly in southern France.


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1 pound penne or other short tubular pasta

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1 large red onion, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 3 anchovy fillets, mashed (optional)

  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tuna packed in oil, drained

  • ¾ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Return pasta to pot.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is very tender and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add half-and-half and if using, anchovies; raise heat to high, and boil 2 minutes.

  3. Pour mixture over pasta. Add tuna, parsley, capers, and reserved pasta water; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Cook's Notes

Anchovy paste, a mixture of anchovies, vinegar, spices, and water, is a mess-free substitute for mashed fillets; use 1 teaspoon of paste for each fillet.

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