Linguine with Tomato, Tuna, Garlic, Fennel, and Lemon

This is one of Chef George Germon's all-time favorites. He and Chef Johanne Killeen use tuna packed in olive oil; look for a good brand from Italy or Spain. If tomatoes are out of season, substitute 1 cup canned tomato pulp.Plus: Pasta Recipes and Tips



  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 pound imported dried thin linguine

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • One 5-ounce can imported tuna packed in olive oil, drained

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped, juices reserved

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced lemon zest

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Fill a stockpot with 6 quarts of water, cover and bring to a boil. Add 3 1/2 tablespoons salt to the water and add the linguine. Cover partially until the water just returns to a boil, then uncover, stir the pasta and cook until almost al dente. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonreactive skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, red pepper and fennel seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is just golden. Add the tuna and 1/2 teaspoon salt, raise the heat to high and cook until the tuna begins to sizzle; be careful not to break it up too much. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil, then simmer over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest.

  3. Add the linguine to the sauce and cook over moderately low heat for 1 minute. Add a little of the pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the pasta seems dry. Serve immediately, garnished with the parsley.

Suggested Pairing

This dish needs a wine with some concentration and body. One option: an Italian Vermentino di Sardegna.

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