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Quick Tuna Ragu

Quick Tuna Ragu

For years I thought tuna and tomato didn’t go together. And then I traveled to Italy and had the most delicious tuna and tomato pasta (which I ordered by accident) in a little restaurant just outside Florence.

Ever since then I’ve been a big fan because it’s easy to keep a can of tuna and a jar of passata (or canned tomatoes) in the pantry for a backup meal. I always have a head of cabbage in the fridge to use for things like this but of course pasta will also work if you want a true pantry meal.

This version I’ve served with boiled sliced cabbage. I know it sounds pretty boring but it’s one of my favourite low carb pasta alternatives. In my opinion it’s even better than zucchini ‘noodles’.

And don’t get me started on how much I hate silly names like ‘zoodles’.

Course Dinner
Cuisine modern
Keyword cabbage, capers, dinners, ragu, simple, tomato, tuna
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2


  • 1/2 head white cabbage sliced into 5mm (1/4in) ribbons
  • 2 tablespoons capers rinsed if packed in salt
  • 1 can tuna in oil 400g / 14oz, not drained
  • 1/2 jar tomato passata / puree 1.5 cups
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter
  • shaved parmesan to serve


  1. If using the cabbage bring 1cm (1/2in) salted water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add cabbage and cook, covered for 4 minutes or until cabbage is no longer crunchy (think al dente like cooked pasta). Drain well and divide between two bowls.
  2. Return the pan to the heat and reduce the burner to medium-high. Add a very generous glug of extra virgin olive oil and add capers. Fry for a minute or two until capers are crisping up. Remove capers from the pan and drain on paper towel.
  3. Add tuna and the liquid from the can, passata and butter to the pot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce is reduced a little. Taste and season if needed but it probably will be fine with the salt from the tuna can. If it tastes too acidic or ‘not quite right’ melt some more butter in (more butter fixes everything!)
  4. If using cabbage, spoon the sauce over the cabbage in the bowls. If using pasta, toss the cooked pasta in the pot to heat through in the sauce then divide between two bowls.
  5. Scatter over cooked capers and shaved parmesan.

Recipe Video