Easy Puttanesca: Spicy tuna and tomato pasta

Here's a quick and easy recipe for the Italian classic puttanesca (which literally means tarts spaghetti), a spicy tomato pasta dish with punchy salty flavours. It's a real store cupboard superhero requiring just a handful of ingredients which you can customise as needed.

Traditional puttanesca calls for anchovies but I use a tinned tuna instead as it's less salty. If I'm making puttanesca for the family, I spoon out some of the tomato, tuna and garlic sauce into separate pan for the kids before adding the chilli, capers and olives. They like their 'virgin' puttanesca' topped with some grated cheddar cheese.

Easy Puttanesca: Spicy tuna and tomato pasta

  • Serves: 4

  • Time: 15 minutes

  • Cost: 59p per serving

  • Calories: 497 per serving


  • 400g spaghetti

  • 185g tin of tuna in oil (drained, but reserve a little oil)

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons capers, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons black olives, chopped

  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes (to taste)

  • Pinch cinnamon (optional)

  • Fresh parsley or basil and extra olives to serve (optional)


  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet until 'al dente'. While the spaghetti is cooking you can make the sauce.

  2. Use a little of the tuna oil to fry the garlic for one minute until soft in a large frying pan then add the tomatoes, tuna, capers, olives, cinnamon, and chilli flakes. Simmer gently for around 5 minutes while the spaghetti cooks.

  3. Add the cooked spaghetti to the sauce and stir until everything is well combine. Serve topped with some fresh herbs and a few extra olives if you like.