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Creamy Tuna Carbonara

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This tuna carbonara is one of the best twists on a classic recipe. Creamy, comforting, and so full of flavor, a real winner recipe! Ready in about 15 minutes.

My son loves pasta carbonara. We all do, actually, but he is a fan. He asks me to cook the dish, again and again, there is hardly a month gone by without it. And lately, there is this new recipe for tuna carbonara that makes him happy! This pasta dish is good!!!!! Really good! Better than you might expect at first, I would say. My son is 12, an age when kids are not exactly keen on canned tuna or capers, but he absolutely adores this recipe.

Love a fast and easy dish? Have a look at these pasta recipes!

pasta with tuna sauce and parmesan behind the plate.

What do you need?

Just a few simple, good value, everyday ingredients, this is actually a “pantry recipe”.

ingredients for making tuna sauce for pasta on a table.

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Pasta:

  • I like spaghetti for any kind of carbonara sauce, but other pasta sorts are perfectly fine as well.

Tuna:

  • Canned, either in oil or in brine/water.
  • I recommend using the brined fish to save some calories. Any heavy cream dish is calorie-laden and you will not notice a huge difference in taste if you use brined fish.

Capers and anchovies:

  • They add the extra zing to this dish, I would not leave them out. If you can’t stand anchovies at all, you could leave them out, but don’t omit the capers, you will miss their flavor and acidity.
  • And concerning the anchovies, you will not taste them in the dish, you will not be able to say: “Oh, there’s the darn anchovy!”. They will only increase the flavor, the depth of the dish without you even noticing that they are there.

Heavy cream:

  • I know, a controversial ingredient when it comes to making carbonara. But I love using it, especially when cooking this kind of twist on a classic. It makes the dish incredibly creamy, mellows the tuna flavor, it just belongs there.

Eggs:

  • Use fresh, large eggs.

Parmesan:

  • Freshly grated Parmesan from a wedge of cheese, it really makes a difference.

Spices: salt, pepper, dried oregano, and some parsley or basil to sprinkle over the finished dish.

close up spaghetti sprinkled with parmesan and parsley.

How to make carbonara with tuna?

  • All you need is a large pot to cook the pasta and a medium bowl.
  • Set the water for the pasta.
  • While the water cooks, prepare the sauce.
  • Chop the capers and the anchovies very finely. Place them in a bowl.
  • Pour in the heavy cream, add the eggs, salt, pepper, oregano. Whisk well.
  • Grate the Parmesan and add it to the bowl. Stir again. Set aside.

a bowl with heavy cream sauce and spaghetti in a sieve.
  • Drain the cans. Set aside.
  • Once the pasta water is cooking, add salt generously. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet’s instructions. Drain.
  • Return the pasta to the empty pot. Flake the drained fish on top. Turn on the hob again on low heat. Pour the egg mixture on top and stir very quickly to combine everything for 30 – 40 seconds. Remove.
  • Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs and serve immediately.

plate full of spaghetti and a fork.

Tips

  • To save time, fill the pot with really hot water from the tap or cook the water in a kettle first and then pour it into the pot.
  • Use brined fish to save calories, you will not notice any difference in taste.
  • Keep the heat on very low when mixing the pasta with the egg mixture. If the temperature is too high or if you keep the pot on the hob for too long, the eggs will scramble. Only keep the pot on the heat for as long as it takes for the eggs to coat the pasta and become creamy, 1 minute tops.

pasta with tuna carbonara sauce.

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Variations on the tuna carbonara recipe

  • Instead of tuna, you can use other sorts of canned fish. How about salmon or sardines? Drain them well and mix them with the pasta and egg-cream mixture.
  • You could also replace the fish with leftover rotisserie chicken, pancetta, or cooked ham. Chop them into small cubes and heat them gently in a pan or microwave before adding them to the dish.
  • Make the dish vegetarian by substituting all the fish with pan-fried mushrooms and the Parmesan with vegetarian hard cheese. Clean and slice the mushrooms and fry them in a pan with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil or butter until golden, about 3-4 minutes. Mix with the pasta and the rest of the ingredients.
  • Substitute the fish or add some pan-fried diced or sliced zucchini to the dish.
  • Add some peas to the cooking pasta during the last 2-3 minutes of the cooking time.

plate of spaghetti sprinkled with hard cheese.

How to store and reheat?

Tuna carbonara is best served immediately. However, the leftovers keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat before serving. You can use the microwave or reheat in a small saucepan. Add a splash of milk to the pot and reheat on low heat stirring often.

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pasta with tuna carbonara sauce.

Creamy Tuna Carbonara

This tuna carbonara is one of the best twists on a classic recipe. Creamy, comforting, and so full of flavor, a real winner recipe! Ready in about 15 minutes.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Pasta Recipes
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 813kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2 cans tuna in water/brine each about 130 g/ 4.6 oz
  • 3 teaspoons capers
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan + more to serve
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt more to taste
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs parsley, chives, basil

Instructions

  • Set the water for the pasta. While the water cooks, prepare the rest.
  • Drain the tuna. Set aside.
  • Chop the capers and the anchovies very finely. Place them in a bowl and pour in the heavy cream, add the eggs, salt, pepper, oregano. Whisk well.
  • Grate the Parmesan and add it to the bowl. Stir again. Set aside.
  • Once the pasta water is cooking, add salt generously. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet’s instructions. Drain. Return the pasta to the empty pot.
  • Flake the drained fish on top.
  • Turn on the hob again on low heat. Pour the egg mixture on top and stir very quickly to combine everything for 30 – 40 seconds, until the sauce is creamy and the pasta is coated with it. Do it very shortly and on low heat or the eggs might scramble.
  • Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs and serve immediately with more grated Parmesan if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the dish | Calories: 813kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 212mg | Sodium: 1132mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g
Keywords: carbonara with fish, carbonara with tuna, fish carbonara, tuna carbonara, tuna carbonara pasta, tuna carbonara recipe, tuna pasta
Recipe Rating




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