Help get NZ cooking: Tuna spaghetti

Last updated 05:00 10/12/2012
Spaghetti Tuna, step by step
Kevin Barclay Zoom
STEP ONE: Get all your ingredients ready.
FINISHED DISH: Eat and enjoy.

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Spaghetti tuna is a favourite in our household and it's super easy to make.


Main ingredient Tuna
Type of dish Pasta
Course Main course
Cooking time <30 min
Serves/makes 2 - 3
Special options Dairy-free

Even if you have to go to the supermarket and buy all of the ingredients, it's still a cheap meal and almost impossible to get wrong.

This makes enough sauce for 2-3 servings. 


2 tablespoons Oil
1 teaspoon Crushed Garlic (or 1 clove garlic, crushed)
1 small Onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 can Chopped Tomatoes
185g can Tuna, drained
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
Parmesan Cheese to taste (Optional)
Fresh Ground Pepper (optional)
2 serves Pasta of your choice



1. First put at least 1.25 litres of water in a large pot, put the lid on and get it onto a high heat - you want this boiling to cook your pasta in later on. Add some salt to the water - about 1 and a half teaspoons for a largish pot should be fine.

2. While the water heats up, peel a small onion and chop it up as small as you can manage. Top tip: If someone in the house wears contact lenses - get them to do it and there won't be any tears.

3. Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a frypan. We use canola, not the good olive oil. Add the chopped onion and stir it around constantly to avoid anything burning. The aim is to cook the onion long enough that it just starts to lose its colour and softens up. This will normally take about 4-5 minutes.

4. Add a teaspoon of crushed garlic, stir it through and cook for another few minutes.

5. Open a can of the cheapest chopped tomatoes you can find and dump it in, giving a brief stir. Add two generous tablespoons of the tomato paste and mix it all thoroughly. Nothing gourmet here, use the cheapest you can find. We rarely pay more than about 90 cents for a tin of chopped tomatoes, and a small tub of tomato paste is about the same. Put a few grinds of black pepper in now also.

6. Stir it until it just starts to bubble though the mixture and then drop the heat right back to a low setting. The idea here is to keep some heat on it so that water evaporates off and it thickens up, but not so hot that it starts to actively bubble and boil. This will make your sauce a nice consistency for when it hits your spaghetti!

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7. Open the tuna and drain all the liquid off. Stir it in to the sauce making sure the fish is thoroughly broken up throughout.

8. Sprinkle on a teaspoon of dried oregano, give it a stir and the sauce is ready. Leave it on a very low heat so that it keeps warm while you cook the spaghetti.

9. With a bit of luck, your pot of water for the spaghetti should be boiling by now. Take a fist of spaghetti and drop it in to the water, and return to boiling as soon as you can. Top tip: A medium serve of dry spaghetti for one is a bunch roughly the same diameter as the lid off a stubby of beer.

10. Once the spaghetti has loosened up a bit, give it a stir around with a fork to make sure it swims freely in the boiling water. It will take six or seven minutes of boiling to cook the spaghetti. After about 5 minutes of boiling you need to regularly pull a piece out of the water and test to see if it's cooked. The easiest way to do this is simply to bite it.

When you're happy with the spaghetti, drain it through a colander to stop it from cooking any further. Spoon some spaghetti on to a plate and ladle some sauce on the top. Garnish with a shake or two of stinky cheese (Parmesan) and it's ready to eat. Enjoy!


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