Try This Pasta Puttanesca Recipe From ‘The Tinned Fish Cookbook’

Tinned anchovies take this easy-to-make dish to the next level.

facebook-Linked_Image___Pasta Puttanesca.The Tinned Fish Cookbook.Credit David Loftus
Photo: The Tinned Fish Cookbook: Easy-to-Make Meals from Ocean to Plate/

Tinned fish is enjoying a spike in popularity as more people stock their pantries for quarantine-era cooking. Besides ubiquitous canned tuna, there’s tinned salmon, anchovies, trout, octopus, mackerel, herring, and more. These seafood delights are sustainably canned and can be used in a variety of tasty, easily-prepared recipes spanning from simple snacks to hearty main courses.

The Tinned Fish Cookbook: Easy-to-Make Meals From Ocean to Plate is a new cookbook that launched just as many of us are increasingly buying canned fish, and features nourishing recipes like tuna lasagna and mackerel and potato frittata, as well as creative takes on typically fish-free fare like anchovy dumplings and salmon pizza. 

Author Bart Van Olphen also includes a recipe for pasta puttanesca, which uses tinned anchovies to bolster the classic dish’s signature umami flavor. While white anchovies are often the best choice for snacking–either on crackers or piled atop buttered brown bread–tinned anchovies found at any supermarket are an essential ingredient of this easy meal that’s perfect for yet another night of dining in.


(Serves two as a main course)

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 shallot, diced

One 2-ounce (45 g) tin of anchovies, drained

One 14-ounce (400 g) can of peeled plum tomatoes

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2½ cups (200 g) penne (or any other kind of dried pasta)

10 Taggiasca olives, pitted

1 cup (100 g) halved cherry tomatoes

Two 5-ounce (140 g) tins of tuna (preferred pole & line caught and MSC certified) in olive oil,


Salt and pepper

Olive oil

½ bunch of basil, leaves only

1. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the garlic and shallot for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft. Add the anchovy fillets and let them “melt” while stirring continuously, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and let the mixture simmer for 3 to 4 minutes with a lid on, then crush with a potato masher.

3. Meanwhile, put a pan with plenty of salted water over medium-high heat and cook the penne according to the package directions.

4. Add the olives and cherry tomatoes to the shallot-tomato mixture and gently simmer for a few minutes over low heat. Fold in the drained tuna, heat through for 2 minutes, and season with pepper and salt if needed.

5. Once cooked, drain the penne in a colander and carefully stir the pasta through the tomato sauce. Divide the pasta puttanesca between two plates, drizzle with some olive oil, and serve garnished with basil.

Photo: The Tinned Fish Cookbook: Easy-to-Make Meals from Ocean to Plate/