cooking · Dinner

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Tuna

I was inspired by a recipe in the September 2012 issue of Health magazine and adapted it a bit. Add in that it is the rare time when tomatoes are fresh here in the PNW…..

We don’t eat meat often anymore, truly it is a rare occasion but I have continued to serve fish once a week or so, wild caught and in small amounts.When I was pregnant we didn’t eat it, that was due to mercury fears. So I was interested in a study I saw that shows the light tuna has lower amounts of heavy metals/pollution than Albacore. Huh….so after seeing this recipe I went shopping and found something annoying. EVERY single can of water pack tuna in the store was packed in vegetable broth (and some brands had even nastier items added). Usually when I buy tuna, I buy oil-packed, in extra virgin olive oil. And this confirmed that for me – it was tuna, oil and salt. Simple and what you expect. The fish not only tastes better, it is firmer in texture. So buy what you can find, but read the labels. No reason to buy pumped up tuna that is so bland they need to add broth! But do read…some brans use cheap soybean oil.

In any case, the pasta was a hit with the family. Walker (aka The Toddler) had 3 servings. I was shocked. He loved it!

Then we went out and picked some of the last blueberries of the season. Which Walker happily ate!


A simple and rustic dinner –

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Tuna


  • 13.25 ounce package multi-grain penne
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (used romas)
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 4.5 ounce cans light tuna, packed in extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, ends trimmed (see below)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil, add penne, cook for time on package. Reserve 2 Tbsp [pasta water, drain pasta.

Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium-high, add the oil, tomatoes, garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

While it is cooking, peel the zucchini in long strips with a peeler, making ribbons. Discard the core (where the seeds are). Add the zucchini and tuna (with oil) and stir in. Turn to medium and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Toss with the cooked penne, reserved water and cheese.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.


3 thoughts on “Fresh Tomato Sauce with Tuna

  1. Good thoughts on the tuna. I’ve been avoiding tuna as well for the same reasons. Before, I always thought tuna, not in oil, was healthier. But what you said makes sense. My family loves tuna, but we havent had it much in the last 6 months. What about tuna packed in water? or is that where the broth comes in?

    1. If you can find tuna packed just ion water with salt, go for it…but I was also reading that the EVOO packed tuna is better, as you absorb the Omegas better. And honestly, I find the oil packed tuna to just taste better – it is richer tasting, firmer 🙂

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