Try making pasta with a lemon twist

Lemon Pasta with Tuna and Capers calls for high-quality tuna packed in olive oil.

I’m always looking for new ways to prepare pasta, especially in the summer, when the hearty sauces are heavier than I want.


Over the past few summers, this week’s Lemon Pasta with Tuna and Capers has become a summertime staple at my house.

While the pasta cooks, you whip up a simple sauce that’s lemony, a little spicy and piquant from little caper berries.

One of the tricks to this pasta is using good olive oil-packed tuna. You can find imported Italian tuna in olive oil at specialty and gourmet stores, but there are several brands available in the regular supermarket.

Be sure to reserve some of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. The reserved water can be added to the pasta in case you want a thinner sauce.

Finish the pasta with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serve with a tomato salad for a light summer supper.


  • 12 ounces to 1 pound fettuccine or other pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 2 large cloves
  • 1/3 cup capers, with a little of their juices
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 5-ounce cans high-quality tuna packed in olive oil, undrained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, and cook according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pepper flakes and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the capers and wine. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and zest, and tuna. Add the drained pasta and parsley; stir to coat well with the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add some pasta water if needed to make the sauce to your liking. Sprinkle each serving with cheese, if desired.

Makes 4-6 servings.


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