Tuna pasta offers a creamy, comfort food and a mild-flavored entree for you to customize with your favorite ingredients. Popularized with canned tuna and cream soup from the 1930s to the 1970s, tuna noodle casserole, as it was called then, offered convenience, but also overly salty but simultaneously bland flavor. By contrast, updated tuna pasta, while still using canned tuna, tastes bright and fresh.

Adapted from the epicurious website, this recipe brings Mediterranean flavors to the All-America tuna dish.

  • 3/4 pounds pasta of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into julienned strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or diced
  • 2 6-ounce cans of albacore tuna, drained
  • 2/3 cup of deli, green olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup clam broth or chicken broth
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled, about 2 cups
  • 1 teaspoon each  fresh lemon juice and lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup basil cut into chiffonade strips

Tips

Any type of noodle works for tuna pasta, but curly or tube types trap the creamy sauce and bits of tuna better than straight types. Chose from such as elbow, farfalle or bow-tie, penne, rigatoni or shells.

  • Experiment with substitutions. Use parsley, spinach or arugula for the basil; sun-dried tomatoes or chopped, canned artichokes for the
    roasted red peppers; pitted kalamata olives for the green olives; and cream cheesefor the goat cheese.
  • Add additional vegetables. Include vegetables that pair well with tuna, such as sauteed asparagus pieces, thinly sliced celery or watercress.
  • Add a crusty topping. Place the pasta in an oven-proof serving bowl, top it with equal parts bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and set it in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven to brown for 20 minutes.
  • Change the flavor profile. Use cream cheese, Dijon mustard, diced peas and carrots for an American-style pasta dish or give the pasta an Asian feel by omitting any kind of cheese and tossing the tuna and pasta with  soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese cabbage, grated carrots, toasted cashews and chopped scallions.