This Tuna Carbonara recipe is a twist on the classic carbonara dish that combines the comfort of pasta with the flavors of the sea. Al dente spaghetti is coated in a luscious sauce, stuffed with flaked tuna filet and generously sprinkled with the sharp and tangy notes of Pecorino Romano cheese.
About the Recipe
With just a few simple ingredients, including pantry staples like eggs and the convenience of canned tuna, you can whip up this satisfying and flavorful meal in no time.
This is a fantastic choice for a quick and comforting weeknight meal. Whether you're cooking for yourself or your family, this dish comes together easily and satisfies even the hungriest of appetites.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Simple - This is a simple and straightforward recipe that comes together in no time. It requires minimal ingredients and preparation, making it an excellent choice for busy individuals or those seeking a quick and satisfying meal.
Unique - Adding tuna to this dish puts a delicious twist on the traditional Carbonara recipe by incorporating quality canned tuna. This adds a savory and briny flavor to the dish, creating a unique and unexpected combination.
Comforting - Carbonara is known for its comforting and creamy nature, making it a popular choice for those seeking a cozy and satisfying meal. This recipe combines the comforting elements of the classic dish with the unique twist of tuna, creating a comfort food dish that hits all the right notes.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this Italian recipe:
- Tuna: Use a good quality canned tuna filet. I prefer oil packed tuna from Italy.
- Pecorino Romano
- Black pepper: Freshly cracked black pepper will provide the best flavor.
- Olive oil: Always use a good quality olive oil for the best flavor.
- Parsley: Use fresh parsley for serving.
Let's make this easy tuna carbonara together!
Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti until al dente, about 7 minutes.
Step 2: While the pasta is cooking, combine the Pecorino Romano, eggs and freshly cracked black pepper. Set aside.
Step 3: Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Step 4: Add the tuna to the pan and reduce the heat to low.
Step 5: Once the pasta is cooked, use tongs to transfer the pasta to the pan with the tuna in it and toss well. Do not discard the pasta water. Add 2 teaspoons of the pasta water to the egg mixture and mix well.
Step 6: Remove the pan with the pasta from the heat. Add the egg mixture and toss well with the pasta mixture, until the sauce is creamy. Add more pasta water, if needed. Top with cracked black pepper, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve and enjoy!
Expert Tips and Tricks
Here are some expert tips to make this tuna carbonara dish:
Complete the meal - Serve this meal with a fresh green salad and some crusty garlic bread.
Cook the pasta al dente - Cooking the pasta to al dente, or firm to the bite is an important step to remember. This helps the pasta maintain its texture when it is combined with the other ingredients.
Temper the eggs - When you add the pasta cooking water to the egg and Pecorino mixture, you are tempering the eggs which helps to ensure the eggs don’t cook too quickly, or scramble when you add them to the pasta. Tempering the eggs helps to create that velvety smooth sauce. Don’t skip this step!
Here is some kitchen equipment you will need for this recipe. You can find all of these products on Amazon.
Large Pot - A large pot is essential in every kitchen to make soups, boil pasta, and so many other things!
Large skillet - You'll want a high quality large skillet with high sides.
Here are some common recipe substitutions and variations for this pasta dish.
Pecorino Romano - If you do not have Pecorino Romano on hand, feel free to substitute it with parmesan cheese. Parmesan is a bit milder and would be a great alternative that will pair nicely with the other ingredients.
Tuna - If you prefer, you could use fresh tuna. Cook the tuna to your desired degree of doneness and then flake it into the pasta dish.
What To Serve With
Here are some recipes to serve alongside this carbonara recipe:
Italian Cheese Bread - Cheesy garlic herb butter pull apart bread is the perfect easy appetizer! This easy cheesy bread appetizer is perfect for any size gathering.
Italian Chopped Salad - This Italian chopped salad is a hearty salad filled with fresh vegetables, salami, mozzarella, and kalamata olives. It is topped with a delicious homemade Italian vinaigrette that is made with red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and Italian seasoning.
Easy Tomato Crostini with Whipped Cream Cheese - This Tomato Crostini with Whipped Cream Cheese appetizer is perfect for entertaining! With creamy whipped cream cheese, sauteed garlic tomatoes, and a sweet balsamic drizzle, each bite is so delicious.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Add a burst of color and freshness by including cooked peas, sautéed spinach or arugula. These additional ingredients will all add a pleasant pop of green.
Absolutely. While the classic Carbonara recipe calls for spaghetti, you can use linguine or fettuccine for a slightly different texture and presentation. These broader pasta shapes work well with creamy sauces. If you prefer a healthier or gluten-free option, substitute regular pasta with whole wheat or gluten-free pasta varieties. They provide a nutritious alternative without compromising on taste.
Carbonara is really best when it is served right after it is prepared. The heat from the pasta cooks the eggs and gives this dish its smooth and creamy texture. Once the noodles and sauce have had time to sit, you won’t get the same texture, but the flavor will remain.
Recipe Storage and Reheating
Here are storage instructions for this simple recipe.
Refrigerator Storage: Store in an airtight container and eat leftovers within 2-3 days.
Freezer Storage: Freeze in a freezer-safe, airtight container and keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Reheating Instructions: The best way to reheat this recipe is to heat in a skillet with a little olive oil over low heat until warm. You can also reheat in the microwave.
Other Recipes to Try
- 1 lb Spaghetti
- 8 oz good quality canned tuna filet
- ⅓ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 Eggs
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Pasta Water
- Fresh parsley for serving
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until al dente, about 7 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine pecorino Romano, eggs, and freshly cracked black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add tuna to the pan and reduce heat to low. Use tongs to transfer spaghetti directly to the pan and toss well. Do not discard the pasta water.
- Add 2 teaspoons pasta water to egg and cheese mixture and mix well. Remove pan from heat, then add the egg mixture. Toss well with the pasta and tuna, until the sauce is creamy. Add more pasta water if needed.
- Top with more cracked pepper, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve.