Simple Lemony Tuna Bucatini

This buttery herby bucatini tuna pasta dish with crispy garlic Parmesan bread crumbs is one of those quick and delicious dishes you can make with what you probably have on hand. I also love making this on evenings when you need something low maintenance but totally satiating. It’s also bursting with lemon flavours and this along with the freshness of the parsley - makes it the perfect spring/summer meal that comes together in no time.

Simple Lemony Tuna Bucatini

The key with a tuna pasta dish in my opinion  is you either keep it light and fresh with loads of herbs and lemony flavours - or you go full force with it in a creamy and rich casserole - I love my tuna pasta shells for that. This dish is in the lemony and herby category. Parsley goes so well with this dish and adds some greens to your pasta as well. Feel free to add in a veggie if you wish. Some good veggie options to add would are - broccoli or rapini even asparagus or green peas.

What kind of tuna should I use in my pasta?

When it comes to the tuna - it’s really up to your taste and what you have in the pantry. I always tend to go for the solid white tuna. I usually have that stocked in my pantry and I prefer it. I like the pieces in the pasta to be a little larger as opposed to it being super flaky. The one I usually use is in water but a nice one with oil is also fine. Feel free to use the oil in the dish too especially if it’s a good quality tuna in oil - if so you may not need to add as much pasta water in the end. If not feel free to drain it.

Simple Lemony Tuna Bucatini

When it comes to the pasta just use what you like. We love the slurp factor of bucatini - but penne, shells or just plain spaghetti would work just fine - use the shape you like and have. What will make a difference though, is if you use gluten free pasta. Gluten free pasta can get a little gummy if it’s over cooked at times so make sure to undercook it as it will continue cooking in the pasta water.

Simple Lemony Tuna Bucatini

What I love about this pasta is all the other add ins. What brings this tuna and pasta to life is the chilli flakes, extra flavour from the anchovies (trust me on that one - they add the perfect amount of saltiness and Unami: flavour that enhances the good taste of other ingredients in a particular recipe) the parsley, the bright lemony flavours and the perfect brininess from the olives and capers!! It’s a great Italian inspired dish that isn’t complete without those crunchy garlicky bread crumbs (I used panko for extra crunch plus that is what I had in my pantry) - they make the perfect crunchy topping. As you can see this is a very adaptable recipe and I think you guys will really love it!! Enjoy!

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Basic ingredients


Serves 4


For the pasta

  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 anchovies
  • ½ tsp Chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp capers in juice
  • 2 tbsp of chopped green olives
  • 170g or 6oz can of tuna drained
  • ¼ cup Lemon juice
  • 12 oz bucatini pasta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • ½ cup parsley
  • 1 tsp Lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the bread crumb topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups Panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon zest


For the bread crumbs

  1. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil, then add the garlic and cook until it just starts to brown.
  2. Add the bread crumbs and continue to cook until the crumbs are lightly browned.
  3. Take off the heat and pour the mixture into a bowl. Add the Parmigiano, parsley, and lemon zest, stir to combine, and set aside.

For the pasta

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking heat oil in a large skillet on medium-low. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until golden at edges, about 1 minute. Add anchovies and chiles and cook, stirring, until anchovies are dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice. Then add the the olives, capers and tuna and stir to coat.
  3. Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with sauce along with 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing often, until pasta is al dente, add cheese, tossing until melted and emulsified. Remove pan from heat, add lemon zest, parsley, butter, and half of breadcrumb mixture and toss until combined and butter is melted. If pasta seems dry, add more pasta cooking liquid and toss again. Season with salt and pepper, and more lemon juice if desired.

  4. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with remaining breadcrumb mixture.

Simple Lemony Tuna Bucatini