Creamy Tuna Pasta – Carmy


This creamy tuna pasta recipe is such an easy and delicious meal for when you don’t know what to make on a busy weeknight. Fusilli pasta, peas, and canned tuna tossed in a creamy, flavorful sauce made by simmering together chicken broth and cream, this recipe relies on kitchen staples to make preparing it as simple as possible! Ready in 30 minutes or less, you’ll want to make this tuna and peas pasta recipe weekly.

Overhead view of a large pot of creamy tuna pasta topped with fresh basil. Surrounded by more basil, salt and pepper grinder, parmesan, and lemon.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This is such an easy recipe for busy weeknights. I almost always have every single ingredient in my fridge (minus fresh basil 24/7), so I can easily whip it up for dinner.
  • I love using canned tuna as it’s a convenient quality protein source. I always have a couple of cans in the pantry as it doesn’t require me to thaw anything or run out to pick up protein.
  • It reheats well (or you can eat it chilled), so you can make it as a make ahead work lunch.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make a creamy tuna pasta recipe.
  • pasta — you can use any type of pasta shape you have on hand. I’m using fusilli corti bucati. I love the tight spirals, but you don’t have to use the exact pasta shape!
  • peas — I love using frozen peas in my recipes as they’re so easy to add to pretty much any recipe and add a boost of protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Fresh or frozen peas are fine, but I use frozen peas as I always have a Costco-sized bag in my freezer.
  • oil — feel free to use any neutral oil of your choice. I’m using olive oil but you can also use avocado oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
  • onion — I use a small yellow onion but there’s no such thing as too much onion in this recipe.
  • garlic — I always recommend freshly minced garlic over minced garlic in a jar. I usually buy a large batch of garlic and process them myself to freeze, so I always have minced garlic on hand.
  • chicken broth — I use chicken broth as the base of the sauce, but you can use any broth of choice, such as vegetable broth.
  • lemon — you’ll need a tablespoon of lemon juice and the zest of one lemon. You’ll want to use fresh lemon for its bright flavor.
  • Dijon mustard — I love the tangy flavor Dijon mustard adds to the pasta sauce.
  • heavy cream — combining the chicken broth and heavy cream will create a wonderfully luscious and creamy sauce for the tuna pasta.
  • parmesan — parmesan adds a rich, tangy, and nutty flavor and helps thicken the sauce. I highly recommend using freshly grated parmesan and not powder parmesan from a bottle.
  • canned tuna — I recommend using good-quality canned tuna. As the ingredients list is short, each ingredient will stand out and you want it to taste amazing. I prefer chunk tuna to flaked tuna as it’s easier to drain. You want to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • salt and pepper — salt for cooking the onions and freshly ground pepper to finish the dish!

How to Make Creamy Tuna Pasta

Set of two photos showing pasta and peas cooked in a pot of water and onions and garlic cooked in a different pot.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water has boiled, add the pasta and stir occasionally as it cooks. Mine takes 7 to 8 minutes. Add the frozen peas one minute before the pasta is done so it can cook. When done, set aside a cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
  • Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat another pot over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt and garlic and cook for another minute.
Set of two photos showing broth, cream, and parmesan added to a pot to cook down before adding canned tuna.
  • Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and Dijon mustard to the pot. Give it a stir to combine, and then add the chicken broth, heavy cream, and grated parmesan.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
  • Add the drained tuna to the pot and mix until it’s evenly distributed in the sauce.
Set of two photos showing pasta and peas added to the pot of sauce and tossed to combine.
  • Add the drained pasta and peas to the pot and toss well to combine.
  • Finish with some freshly cracked pepper, and if desired, garnish with additional parmesan, lemon, and fresh basil.
Overhead view of a plate of creamy tuna pasta with fresh basil and a slice of lemon.

Recipe Tips and Notes

  • If the pasta sauce needs a little extra liquid, use the reserved pasta water! I always hold onto a cup of pasta water, just in case.
  • You can double the ingredients that go into the sauce (lemon, Dijon, broth, cream, and parmesan) if you want the pasta to be extra creamy.
  • You can add a little extra veggies to this by adding a handful of spinach or kale at the end. You can also add some mushrooms at the beginning along with the onions.
  • A bit of sriracha, hot sauce, or red pepper flakes add a great kick to the pasta. I’ve really enjoyed adding a bit of TRUFF over the pasta before serving.
  • Add the tuna to the sauce helps ensure it is mixed evenly when tossed with the pasta.
  • If needed, after cooking the onions, you can use some of the broth to deglaze the pot.

Make Ahead Tips

  • Meal prep: once cooled, store the cooked creamy tuna pasta in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • Reheat: you can reheat the pasta on the stovetop in a skillet with a splash of broth to help loosen the sauce and pasta. You can also reheat the pasta in the microwave or enjoy the tuna pasta chilled.
A meal prep container of creamy tuna pasta with basil and lemon wedge.
Overhead view of a large pot of creamy tuna pasta topped with fresh basil. Surrounded by more basil, salt and pepper grinder, parmesan, and lemon.

Creamy Tuna Pasta

This creamy tuna pasta recipe is such an easy and delicious meal for when you don’t know what to make on a busy weeknight. Fusilli pasta, peas, and canned tuna tossed in a creamy, flavorful sauce made by simmering together chicken broth and cream, this recipe relies on kitchen staples to make preparing it as simple as possible! Ready in 30 minutes or less, you’ll want to make this tuna and peas pasta recipe weekly.


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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 450 grams fusilli pasta, or pasta of choice
  • 1 cup peas, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • cup chicken broth, low sodium
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ to 1 cup parmesan
  • 2 cans tuna, well-drained, (150 grams per can)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, or more to taste

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water has boiled, add the pasta and stir occasionally as it cooks. Mine takes 7 to 8 minutes. Add the frozen peas one minute before the pasta is done so it can cook. When done, set aside a cup of pasta water and drain the rest.

  • Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat another pot over medium heat with a tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the salt and garlic and cook for another minute.

  • Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and Dijon mustard to the pot. Give it a stir to combine, and then add the chicken broth, heavy cream, and grated parmesan.

  • Bring the mixture to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly until the sauce has thickened to your liking. (Add some of the reserved pasta water here if needed)

  • Add the drained tuna to the pot and mix until it’s evenly distributed in the sauce.

  • Add the drained pasta and peas to the pot and toss well to combine.

  • Finish with some freshly cracked pepper, and if desired, garnish with additional parmesan, lemon, and fresh basil.

Notes

  • If needed, after cooking the onions, you can use some of the broth to deglaze the pot.
Tried this recipe?Did you make this recipe? I’m always so happy to hear about it! I’d love to see how it turned out. Tag me at @CarmysHungry on Instagram so I can see it! If you enjoyed the recipe, I’d really appreciate a comment with a 5 star rating! ♥

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 537kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 586mg | Potassium: 448mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 762IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 172mg | Iron: 2mg

Author: Carmy

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Nutrition Disclaimer

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