15-Minute Tuna Tomato Spaghetti with Fresh Basil & Lemon

January 18 2024

A quick and simple pasta dish is one I love to turn to for an easy, delicious meal that everyone is sure to love. In this 15-minute tuna tomato spaghetti, the sauce effortlessly comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook. Before you dive in, ensure everything is prepped and ready to go, because once you start, it all comes together in a flash.

Time the cooking of the spaghetti to sync with the sauce, allowing you to seamlessly transfer the cooked spaghetti directly into the pan for that perfect finish in the sauce. Personally, I prefer going straight from boiling water to sauce, bypassing the colander. It keeps some starchy pasta water, which helps emulsify the sauce, delivering a lush, smooth, and silky spaghetti. In case your timings are off, simply keep a cup or two of pasta water before draining, adding a splash back into the sauce and pasta to loosen if needed.

Now, I'm a huge fan of tuna pasta, but if you're not a fan of tuna or you're after a vegetarian version, butter beans make a delicious substitute. Simply use a 1 x 400g can of drained butter beans, adding them where you would the tuna.

Enjoy the recipe and please let me know if you make it @gatherandfeast.




15-Minute Tuna Tomato Spaghetti with Fresh Basil & Lemon | Gather & Feast

15-Minute Tuna Tomato Spaghetti with Fresh Basil & Lemon | Gather & Feast


Dairy-free option (simply leave out the Parmigiano Reggiano)
5 minutes preparation time + 10 minutes cooking time
  • 400g spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Large pinch chili flakes, to your taste (I like to use Aleppo pepper flakes for their mild, smoky flavour)
  • 4 large cloves fresh garlic, finely sliced
  • 500g (2 punnets) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 x 425g tin tuna in olive oil, drained (I use the brand ‘Sirena’)
  • 3 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, to serve



  1. Have all ingredients prepped and ready to go.
  2. Start boiling a large pot of salted water for the spaghetti.

Cooking the spaghetti:

  1. Cook spaghetti according to packet instructions, aiming for 1 minute less than recommended.

Preparing the sauce:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add chili flakes and sliced garlic, stirring for about a minute.
  3. Add cherry tomatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes, gently squashing some to release juices.
  4. Add drained tuna, stirring to combine.
  5. Incorporate fresh basil leaves, a generous pinch of salt, the zest of a lemon, and freshly cracked black pepper.
  6. Stir to combine and add the juice of half a lemon.

Combining spaghetti and sauce:

  1. Once spaghetti is slightly undercooked, transfer it directly into the pan with tomatoes and tuna using large tongs.
  2. Ensure some starchy pasta water is transferred to help emulsify the sauce.
  3. Toss the spaghetti into the sauce, adding more pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce.

Final touch:

  1. Test for doneness; turn off the heat when pasta is cooked to your liking.
  2. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.
  3. Add some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and toss to combine.


  1. Serve topped with a little more freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and freshly cracked black pepper.


  • For a delicious vegetarian option, substitute the tuna with a 1 x 400g can of drained butter beans. Add them in place of the tuna as directed in the recipe.

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