Classic puttanesca flavors are always tricky at my house. While olives and capers are some of my favorite foods, my kids give them the side-eye and my wife actually doesn’t like them at all.

So I was less than confident when I presented them with this tuna Penne Puttanesca for dinner one week night. But, I was in for a pleasant surprise! My kids ate all the pasta and picked out plenty of add-ins to try. My wife even loved it, although I did pre-remove the olives for her. That’s true love, right there!

I used Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water for this version. I love how ounce-for-ounce tuna is lower in cal/fat/saturated fat/cholesterol than lean beef and chicken. It has wonderful flavor! Plus, it’s so easy to flake and stir into pasta dishes like this. If you use the Albacore in Oil, that is fine, but reduce the amount of oil in the recipe by one tablespoon.

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Let’s make some Penne Puttanesca!

Weeknight Penne Puttanesca

5 from 1 vote
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
A simple and flavor-packed classic Italian pasta dish that's ready in just minutes!


  • 1 5-ounce can Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna
  • 12 ounces penne pasta, al dente
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pint 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parsley, garnish


  • Cook penne pasta in salted water until it’s al dente. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water and drain pasta. Rinse penne pasta with cold water to prevent sticking.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil along with garlic, red pepper flakes, and cherry tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes until tomatoes start to lose some of their juice, but aren’t broken down completely.
  • Add capers and olives and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add cooked penne to the skillet along with ½ cup of pasta water. Stir to combine. The skillet should have a light sauce coating everything. If it seems too dry, add more pasta water by the ¼ cup. If it seems too watery, simmer for a minute or two to thicken.
  • Right before serving, add lemon zest to the skillet along with flaked tuna. Toss to combine but try not to stir too much once you add the tuna so it stays in chunks. Season with black pepper.
  • Serve penne puttanesca immediately garnished with fresh parsley!


Serving: 1plate | Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 460mg | Potassium: 292mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 132IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian

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Step-by-Step Penne Puttanesca

I love how fast and flavorful this recipe is. Here are the basics you need for it!

Basic ingredients for penne puttanesca

Start the sauce by adding the tomatoes to a large skillet with the capers, garlic, and olive oil. Cook for a few minutes but the tomatoes shouldn’t start to get mushy. You don’t want them to break down completely for this recipe.

Starting the puttanesca sauce

Don’t add the tuna until the very end of the recipe so it stays in nice chunks. I used the Solid White Albacore tuna in water, but you could also use Bumble Bee’s version in oil, which is a bit richer.

Tuna for weeknight puttanesca

Once the tomatoes have cooked for a few minutes, add olives and cook for another few minutes. Then add the cooked penne pasta and 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water!

Adding the pasta to the sauce.

The pasta should have a light sauce on it. If the skillet is really dry, add more pasta water by the 1/4 cup. If it is too soupy, just continue to to cook it, stirring constantly, until it thickens.

To finish the Penne Puttanesca, add flaked tuna, lemon zest, and fresh parsley! YUM!

Penne Puttanesca

Serve this right away in big bowls.

Weeknight Penne Puttanesca

If you have leftover penne puttanesca, it will keep well in the fridge for a day or two. I wouldn’t microwave the pasta though. Reheat gently in a skillet with a splash of water.

Here are a few other great tuna recipes!