My Recipe Box

Penne Rigate with Olives, Roasted Peppers, and Tuna


Serves 4 to 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 121

This simple sauce is packed with the flavors of southern Italy—briny olives, sweet peppers, and rich tuna. Feel free to improvise by adding capers or anchovies, or by substituting canned sardines for the tuna.

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 cup black olives, such as Gaeta or Kalamata, or a mix of black and green, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced jarred roasted red peppers
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 2 5-oz. cans tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lb. dried penne rigate or other short, sturdy pasta

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Heat the oil and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 2 minutes, pressing on the garlic with a fork to release its fragrance; don’t let it brown.

Stir in the olives, peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and use the fork to crush them a bit. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the tuna, breaking it up with the fork, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the garlic and stir in the parsley.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat, adding a little of the reserved cooking water to moisten if necessary.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 530; Fat (g): fat g 16; Fat Calories (kcal): 140; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2; Protein (g): protein g 26; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 67; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 1320; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 15; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Reliably quick and easy. Feeds 8 people with some seconds. ***Update*** For large crowds, this dish is invaluable. It's possible to make dinner for 16 in less than 2 hours with an interesting salad and a vegetable side dish. For 16, I triple the sauce and double the pasta. Get 2 parts crushed tomato and 1 part diced; sliced kalamatas; sliced roasted peppers, etc and don't worry about cutting anything up. Vegetable rotini (like Wacky Mac) seems more popular than penne. I agree with other reviewers: the Italian tuna in olive oil is much better than something like Starkist. You can even put the garlic and tuna (drained) with capers into the pan and sauté them first: there will be enough oil left on the tuna for that and it adds an unidentifiable depth to the flavor.

Delicious! Just made this for dinner & followed recipe exactly. I cut it in half for just the two of us and will definitely make again. Husband loved it!

Succulent! Very tasty! I've omitted the olive oil and added some onion flakes. I used gluten free pasta. Thanks very much!

Great weeknight recipe using pantry ingredients that are usually on hand. I also like to throw in marinated artichokes.

Great recipe, but please, DO NOT use water-packed tuna which has no flavor. Use tuna imported from Italy and packed in EVOO. It's not that expensive--less than $2 a can--so your entre is still going to cost way less than $10, it'll serve 4, and the flavor will be excellent.

a very good recipe, however, the recipe doesn't call for what type of tuna to purchase. Solid core or chunk would have been better than what I got which was regular tuna. I used the Kalamata olives which worked well. This is a good recipe for mid-week cooking. I already bought some solid core tuna to do it again.

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