Cooking For One: Bucatini with Tuna and Capers



No doubt there are some of us out there who have no problem whipping up a great dinner for one. For the rest of us it’s a bit of a challenge; the portioning, the time spent mucking about in the kitchen just for one’s self. Today we have a look at a fantastic dinner you can whip up in the time it takes to boil some noodles.


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Bucatini is one of our favourite pastas; similar to spaghetti, it is actually a hollow tube. This gives it a lovely, light as air feeling in the mouth and, equally important, allows it to cook up very quickly; depending on how al dente you like your pasta it is ready in as little as eight to ten minutes. The great thing about this recipe is that the sauce comes together in the time it takes the noodles to cook, and contains everything you want in a meal; your carbs, protein, healthy fat and veg. In this case, pasta, tuna, olive oil, ripe tomatoes and fresh greens.




When portioning pasta for one, a typical serving is 80-100 grams of uncooked noodles. A bunch of noodles with the diameter equal to that of a quarter, or about the amount you can fit in a pop or water bottle. For the tuna, we prefer to use the small, 80 g tins of tuna packed in olive oil. This is a great size for one person and contains 21g of protein packed in 7 g of olive oil.


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All the ingredients in the recipe work harmoniously, with the just right of salt from the capers and anchovies, and a little bright lemony acid perfectly balances the oil. The fresh mixed greens add vitamins A, K and C as well as calcium, iron, potassium and fibre, and add a welcome touch of bitter that goes with the sweet fire-roasted tomatoes and the heat from the garlic and pepper. You can also adjust the heat of the dish to your liking by using different types, or less or more of your favourite chili pepper.


making the sauce while the noodles cook

making the sauce while the noodles cook


For the tomatoes, we used half a cup of fire-roasted tomatoes; already blackened and broken down, they are sweet and smoky and a great thing to have in your pantry. You will want to keep the fuss to a minimum in this recipe, but if you have a jar of anchovies or a tube of anchovy paste, add a bit of that to the sauté for a little more depth and sophistication.


toss the greens on top and stir them in

toss the greens on top and stir them in

This is a wonderful little recipe that comes together in minutes, perfect for students who only have a hot plate in their dorm, or for the rest of us who want a great meal in no time.




Bucatini with Tuna and Capers                                                                                                                                                                        serves one

80-100 g dried bucatini

1 tablespoon olive oil

half a jalapeno pepper

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon capers

2 anchovy fillets, chopped,  or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste

1/2 cup fire roasted tomatoes

1 – 80g can of tuna, packed in olive oil

squeeze of lemon juice

1 cup of mixed spring greens: arugula, spinach etc.

salt and pepper

parsley to garnish

Put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta. While it is coming to a boil roughly chop the chili and garlic. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan to medium and add the chili and garlic. When the pasta water is at a full boil salt the water and add the bucatini. While the pasta cooks, add the capers, anchovy and tomatoes to your pan and stir. Add the tuna and the oil from the can. Stir gently, you don’t want to turn the tuna into mush. Squeeze about a quarter of a lemon into the sauce. Add the greens and gently stir them into the sauce. By now your pasta should be ready, or close to it. Remove the pasta from the water and add directly to the sauce, allowing the pasta water to drip into your pan; pasta water is good for the sauce, add a little more if you like. Stir or shake the bucatini into the sauce, by now the greens will be nicely wilted. Plate, season if desired with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.






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