Pasta with tuna, rocket and preserved lemon

This is a recipe for one of those ‘that tin of tuna has been sitting in the pantry for a while and I made sandwiches with the previous tin’ moments followed by ‘I really feel like a bowl of pasta, so I wonder if …’

It’s not the prettiest plate to grace our table but the flavour is punchy, it combines two items not favoured by Maggie – tuna and pasta – and makes effective use of a home-grown product – preserved lemon. The recipe produces enough for me to have it for lunch on two days, usually while Maggie is at work or is in her “I just feel like an egg on toast” space.

Tuna rocket pasta

There is plenty of salt in the ingredients, so the pasta cooking water should be less salty than usual.


60ml olive oil
1 small-to-medium red or brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
¼ small preserved lemon, flesh discarded, peel rinsed (or zest and juice of a lemon)
185g tin of tuna, scantly drained
2 loosely-packed cups of coarsely chopped rocket
140g ribbon pasta, eg linguine or fettuccini
black pepper


  1. Drain the tuna by partly opening the lid and tipping the tin on its side for a couple of minutes; don’t use paper towel or the dish will be too dry. Place the tuna in a wide bowl and use a fork or your fingers to break up all the lumps into small pieces.
  2. Heat 20ml of the olive oil over low heat, add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft (4-6 minutes).
  3. Finely chop the preserved lemon peel (if using), add to pan with chopped anchovies and cook for 2 minutes. Add tuna to pan and stir. Add remaining 40ml of olive oil and the chopped rocket, stir and cook for 1 minute then remove from heat. Add lemon juice and zest (if using).
  4. Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain but reserve a little of the cooking water.
  5. Add pasta to tuna sauce and toss to combine, season with freshly ground black pepper to taste and add a little pasta cooking water if too dry.
  6. Serve immediately.

About rmgtravelsandfood

Maggie and I are both in our mid-60s and live in Melbourne, Australia. This blog is devoted to our shared passions for travel and fine dining at home. As cooks, we are skilful and adventurous within a framework of mainly traditional ingredients and techniques, and we aim to prepare nutritious food that looks good and tastes delicious. Our evolving repertoire is influenced by both our travels and Melbourne's vibrant food culture. While we are young enough, our priority travel destinations are overseas, although we do spend a few long weekends each year exploring parts of south-eastern Australia. As travellers, we are most comfortable with a combination of organised and independent touring. Our first overseas journey together was to Italy in the northern autumn of 2008. We later travelled in France (2009), Spain (2011), Singapore and Cambodia (2012/13). All trips from 2014 to 2016 are documented in this blog. When time allows, we will publish posts about our journeys - eight and counting - in 2017, 2018 and 2019
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