Bavette with fresh tuna

Bavette al tonno fresco. I’m not sure where this dish originates, but it feels like a Sicilian recipe due to the inclusion of tuna and pine nuts. It’s quite economical too as 200 grams of tuna feeds four people. My problem now is trying to think of a way to use up the other 800g I bought at the fish market this morning. I couldn’t resist, it was ‚ā¨2 a kilo ūüôā Serves 4.

Bavette with tuna ingredients

  • 320g bavette (or spaghetti or linguine) I used bavettini – a smaller version of bavette
  • 100g cherry tomatoes – halved
  • 2 anchovy fillets – chopped
  • 20g pine nuts
  • 70g good quality black olives
  • 200g fresh tuna – cut into small cubes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic – finely sliced
  • 1 shallot – finely sliced
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  1. Fry the shallot and the garlic in olive oil until it starts to colour.
  2. Add the anchovies, half the pine nuts, the olives and the tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the capers and tuna. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and allow to reduce a little.
  5. Remove from the heat. Add the lemon zest, parsley and the rest of the pine nuts.
  6. Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and add to the pan with the tuna. Return to the heat and mix well.  Allow the pasta to take up the flavours for a minute or so, remove from the heat and serve.

Bavette with tuna finished dish

Tuna loaf

Polpettone di tonno ai capperi. This is the favourite dish of Macio, one of my friends from Bergamo. He always cooks it when he has guests. It comes from Sale & Pepe, one of the better food magazines. It can be served as an antipasto or a main course. When I made it I didn’t process the paste long enough, so the loaf was a bit loose. It was delicious though. Serves 4 as a main course 8-10 as an antipasto.

Tuna loaf ingredients

Tuna loaf ingredients

  • 2 200g tins of tuna in brine
  • 2 egg whites
  • 20g grated grana or parmesan
  • 2 tbsp capers in vinegar
  • 4 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  1. Drain the tuna and mash with a fork.
  2. Combine the tuna, egg whites, grana, the zest of the lemon and the drained anchovy fillets and whiz in a food processor until you get a uniform paste. Mix in the whole capers.
  3. Soak a sheet of grease proof paper in water for a couple of minutes and lay it flat on the work surface.
  4. Place the tuna mix onto the centre of the paper and form into a thick sausage shape. It help if you do this with wet hands.

  5. Roll up the paper and twist the ends to form a ‘Christmas cracker’ shape. Tie the ends with kitchen string.

    Tuna loaf ready to cook

    Tuna loaf ready to cook

    Poach the roll in just boiling water for 45 minutes. Remove from the water and allow to cool. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

  6. When ready to serve, unwrap the loaf and cut into 1-2 cm rounds.
  7. Make a dressing by mixing the olive oil, the juice from the lemon, chopped basil leaves and a pinch of salt.
  8. Serve with green salad leaves (rocket, lambs lettuce etc. anything you fancy)
Tuna loaf

Tuna loaf

Spaghetti with tuna

Spaghetti con il tonno. This is a good store cupboard standby. Serves 4

Spaghetti with tuna ingredients

Spaghetti with tuna ingredients

  • 360 grams spaghetti
  • 1 clove garlic — peeled
  • 80 grams tin of tuna — drained and flaked
  • 3 tablespoons concentrated tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic, cook until browned and remove and discard.
  2. Add the tuna and mix well.
  3. Loosen the tomato puree with a couple of tablespoons of warm water and add to the pan and stir well. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with the cooked spaghetti.
Spaghetti with tuna finished dish

Spaghetti with tuna finished dish

Tuna alla Genovese

genoa crest Tonno alla Genovese. From Genova. Serves 6.

  • 600g Fresh tuna, cut into 6 steaks
  • 2 salted anchovies, soaked and filleted
  • 30g dried porcini mushroom, soaked in warm water for half an hour and drained. Reserve the liquid.
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Plain flour
  1. Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and parsley. Fry for a few minutes.
  2. Add the anchovie fillets and allow them to dissolve.
  3. Add the wine, the mushroom liquid and a table spoon of flour. Allow to cook for 6 or 7 minutes.
  4. Add the tuna, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over a low heat for around an hour.

Calamarata with tuna and olives

Calamarate al tonno e olive. If you can’t find calamarata, you can use penne.


Serves 4

calamarata with tuna and olives ingredients

  • ¬† 300¬†grams¬† calamarata
  • ¬† 200¬†grams¬† tuna in oil, drained
  • ¬† 1 heaped tablespoon¬† capers (preferably salted), soaked in cold water for 10 minutes then drained
  • ¬† 20 olives (green or black or a mixture of both), stoned and roughly chopped
  • ¬† 3 cloves¬† garlic, finely sliced
  • ¬† 3 sprigs¬† parsley, chopped
  • ¬† 4 tablespoons¬† olive oil
  • ¬† ¬†salt
  • ¬† ¬†zest of half a lemon, grated
  • ¬† 1/2¬†¬†glass¬† dry white wine
  1. Fry the garlic in the oil until it’s golden and crispy. Add the capers and fry for a further 15 seconds. Remove the garlic and capers from the oil using a slotted spoon and put to one side.
  2. Add the tuna to the pan, season with salt and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook for 4-5 minutes and then add the wine, olives and the lemon zest. Mix well and remove from the heat.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix well. Transfer to a warmed serving dish, sprinkle over the garlic, capers and parsley. Serve immediately.

calamarata with tuna and olives finished dish