End of Winter Pasta with Fennel & Lemon

Pasta w. Fennel & Lemon

This dish is ready in twenty minutes and transports you to the Adriatic Coast!

Pasta with Fennel, Capers, Tuna & Lemon

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Print

Hands-On Time: 18-20 Minutes

Kitchen Equipment: Medium saucepan or frying pan, large pot for cooking pasta, colander, large stirring spoon, lemon zester or microplane, sharp knife, cutting board.


  • 1 Six – Eight Oz jar or can good quality Tuna Olive Oil (I love the Tonnino brand) or for stronger flavor, Sardines in Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Fennel Bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 Large Garlic clove, smashed & minced
  • 1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 15 Oz Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine or Vermouth
  • Zest from one Lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Capers (omit if using Sardines)
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Breadcrumbs
  • Coarsely Chopped Fennel Fronds
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Box of Spaghetti or Linguine


  • Assemble all measured and prepared ingredients and tools within arms reach of the stovetop.
  • Set pasta water to boil in large pot.
  • Drain about 1 Tbsp oil from the tuna or sardine can into the frying pan, over medium heat.
  • Add the fennel and sauté until turning golden, about five minutes
  • Add the garlic and continue to sauté, three – five minutes more
  • Add the red pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, about one minute
  • Add the tomatoes, juice & sauce included, plus the fish, leaving the fish in large chunks.  (The chunks will reduce down as you stir normally and generally continue through the steps – breaking them down at this phase will create a mushy sauce.)  Cook over medium – low heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced.
  • Add the wine, again stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced.
  • Add the capers, lemon zest and juice, stir once more to incorporate and cover to keep warm.
  • Drop pasta into boiling water and cook per the package instructions – fine of course to do this simultaneously as you cook the sauce!
  • Add 2/3 of the sauce to the cooked & drained pasta, and toss with almost all the breadcrumbs and fennel fronds.
  • Place the mixed pasta and sauce in a serving bowl, and top with remaining sauce, crumbs and fronds.

Pasta with Lean Protein, Fennel & Citrus

  • Garnish individually with a few more fronds and Parmesan.

6 responses to “End of Winter Pasta with Fennel & Lemon”

  1. Sounds really delicious! I don’t think I have ever use tuna in pasta. Love the idea!


    1. Thank you – I actually hadn’t either, always the sardines I mentioned in the post. But it worked really well. If you have time to try the recipe, I hope you enjoy!!


  2. Jennifer Tollett Avatar
    Jennifer Tollett

    My husband is always wanting some new pasta dishes. I can’t wait to try this. My mouth is watering!


    1. I hope you both enjoy!!


  3. We LOVE the recipe with the tuna. It was good enough to serve to company. My husband eats sardines for lunch so I know he will also love the sardine variation.
    Thank you, Allison.


    1. I am so glad you liked it! Yes – it’s also good with sardines!! Enjoy & thanks for letting me know!


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