Linguine With Tuna and Capers

You have just returned home from work, and it is now six o’clock. You’re feeling hungry. After pouring yourself a glass of white wine, you look through the pantry in your home. You discover a few of jars of tuna that you have left over from the tuna salad craze that you were on a few weeks ago, along with some pasta, a solitary shallot, and capers (always keep a jar on hand). The white wine that you are holding in your hands causes you to think, “There is the potential for some magic here.”

Mostly due to the fact that it is almost exactly the same as pasta aglio e olio, but with tuna, this pasta has a pasta aglio e olio vibe. For the purpose of enhancing the flavor of the tuna, the recipe calls for cooking garlic in oil, utilizing the oil that is already in the tuna jar, and adding white wine. After that, coat the pasta by tossing it in the combination of the delicious oil and the starchy pasta water. By contributing essential acidity and, as a result, a sense of equilibrium, capers and white wine help to reduce the richness of the oil.

Go for Long Pasta, Not Short

Linguine is easily replaced by spaghetti, bucatini, or fettuccine in most aglio e olio recipes, including this one. It’s the length of the pasta that matters most here. Short pasta shapes do not usually work when the sauce is light and glossy.

I love the Tonnino tuna in jars. If you can find them, use them here! You may need to add less olive oil to the recipe, as the jars have more oil in them than cans do.

I use shallots since they absorb the white wine so well, but you can use thinly sliced garlic instead.

If you don’t have white wine or avoid using it, look here for substitutes.


  • 12 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 2 (5ounce) cans solid tuna packed in oil 
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup drained capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving (optional)


  1. Cook the pasta:

    Cook the linguine according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 1/3 cups cooking water.


    When boiling your pasta, put a 1-cup measuring cup by the colander. It will help remind you to snag some pasta water before you dump it all!

    Cooked pasta in a colander over a bowl for linguine with tuna and capers recipe
  2. Make the sauce:

    Drain the oil from the tuna cans and reserve; set the tuna aside. Heat the tuna oil and extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the white wine and cracked pepper, and cook undisturbed, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the capers.

    Onions and capers cooking in white wine mixture in a pan for 5-ingredient linguine with tuna and capers recipe
  3. Finish the pasta and serve:

    Reduce the heat to medium heat. Add the cooked pasta, 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, and salt. Toss and stir constantly to coat, about 2 minutes (add more pasta water 2 tablespoons at a time, if needed, for a creamy consistency).

    Remove the pan from the heat. Add the reserved tuna and gently toss to distribute. Divide evenly among serving bowls. Serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley, if using.

    Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

    Pasta added to pan with the sauce ingredients for pasta with tuna and capers recipe


What is Linguine with Tuna and Capers?

Linguine with Tuna and Capers is a flavorful pasta dish featuring linguine pasta tossed with canned tuna, briny capers, garlic, olive oil, and other seasonings. It’s a simple yet delicious meal that comes together quickly, making it perfect for busy weeknights or when you’re short on time.

How do I make Linguine with Tuna and Capers?

To make Linguine with Tuna and Capers, start by cooking linguine pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté minced garlic until fragrant. Add canned tuna (drained) and capers to the skillet, along with a splash of white wine or lemon juice for added flavor. Cook for a few minutes until the tuna is heated through and the flavors are combined. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the skillet with the tuna mixture. Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated in the sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Serve hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

What ingredients are needed to make Linguine with Tuna and Capers?

The main ingredients for Linguine with Tuna and Capers include linguine pasta, canned tuna (in water or olive oil), capers, garlic, olive oil, white wine or lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes (optional), fresh parsley, and grated Parmesan cheese for garnish. You can also add additional ingredients like cherry tomatoes, olives, or anchovies for extra flavor and texture.

Can I use fresh tuna instead of canned tuna?

Yes, you can use fresh tuna instead of canned tuna in this recipe if you prefer. Simply cook the fresh tuna in the skillet with olive oil and garlic until it’s cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. Then, proceed with the recipe as directed, adding the capers and other seasonings to the skillet. Keep in mind that using fresh tuna will require a longer cooking time compared to canned tuna.

Is Linguine with Tuna and Capers suitable for meal prep?

Yes, Linguine with Tuna and Capers can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for easy meal prep. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions and prepare the tuna and caper sauce as directed. Once cooled, transfer the pasta and sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days. When ready to eat, reheat the pasta and sauce in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through, adding a splash of water or broth if needed to loosen the sauce. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese if desired.


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