cooking · Dinner

Spaghetti with Tuna and Breadcrumbs

It had been a long, long time since I made a meal with fish (or frankly any meat) but if there is one type of recipe I do miss at times, it would be oil packed tuna and spaghetti. Simple, rustic and filling. If there is anything important in this recipe, it is using decent tuna. Read the label carefully: tuna, extra virgin olive oil and salt – there should be nothing else added. No broth, flavors, starches! Earlier in the week I took the boys to the library and I came home with a dozen or so cookbooks to play with, one being a copy of Williams-Sonoma Savoring Pasta & Rice. I adapted the recipe for Spaghetti with Tuna and Breadcrumbs on page 43 and the recipe for making homemade breadcrumbs on page 219. The breadcrumbs were easy and amazing and a great way to use up ¼ loaf of homemade whole wheat bread I made two days before.

Spaghetti with Tuna and Breadcrumbs


  • 12 to 13.25 ounce package whole grain or multigrain spaghetti
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or white wine
  • 2 4.5 ounce cans extra virgin olive oil packed tuna or 1 large can
  • ¼ cup fresh or freeze-dried parsley, finely chopped
  • Ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup toasted breadcrumbs


To make breadcrumbs – take a loaf of high quality bread (preferably homemade) that is stale, trim off the crusts, chop up a bit and whirl in a food processor a bit. Spread the crumbs onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 325° oven. Take out and process the crumbs until fine, spread on the baking sheet again and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salted if desired. Add the spaghetti, cook for time on package. Reserve a cup of cooking water, drain pasta.

Meanwhile in a large skillet over medium heat add the oil and onion, cook until golden. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, sauté for a minute. Stir in the broth, cook for a minute. Drain and flake the tuna, add it and the parsley to the sauce, turn off the heat.

Toss the spaghetti with it, adding enough reserved water to make a sauce. Season with black pepper, tossed with Parmesan cheese as desired, then toss with half the breadcrumbs. Serve with more cheese and breadcrumbs on top.

Serves 4.

Note: If you have leftover breadcrumbs? Freeze them for later use.


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