Tuna Past’ n Beans (or Pasta e fagioli w/ Tuna)

Tuna Past’ n Beans (or Pasta e fagioli w/ Tuna)

Tuna Past' n Beans (or Pasta e fagioli w/ Tuna)

This is casual recipe that I grew up with which can be made with meat or tunafish. It was a common dish for us on Fridays or when cash was a little low. A key feature is that is is relatively easy to whip up after work, keeps well and most of us keep these as staples in the house.

Its flexible! You can make it thicker or thinner depending on your tastes (or how far you need to stretch that dime!) . While this adaption isn’t the traditional version your will find for Pasta e Fagipoli it’s what I grew up with. 

Just a note here; This is one of those recipes that when I tried asking for from my Mom, her response was “I do not have amounts of ingredients to these receipes because I cook from taste and how it feels and looks.” so this is my take on the “make it till it tastes right to you” style of cooking.

  • 2 – 28 oz cans of crashed tomatoes (I tend to use Hunts brand for this, you can also use a canned or jarred sauce – this process amps up the flavor,)
  • 1-2 14.5 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes ((optional))
  • 2- 16 oz cans of Garbanzo Beans (drained and rinsed.)
  • 1 – 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 lb Pasta noodles (usually I go with a penne or elbow but to be honest what ever you have at home will work fine)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley (or dried)
  • 2- 12 oz cans of Tuna in water (I usually use american style tuna in water for this dish BUT if you can get italian style canned tuna in oil and use the flavored oil instead of olive oil, drained)
  1. In a medium size pot, add the oil, add small pieces of garlic and turn up to medium heat and cook a few minutes. (don’t burn the garlic – you want it soften)

  2. Add in the red pepper flakes, and any optional chopped veggies here to soften (But try to chop them to be the same size as the garbanzo beans). ** if you are making the meat version – this is where I would say add some chopped pepperoni, or left over chicken or steak.

  3. Add the can of paste (but if you know you will use at least half later in the week, half is fine too)

  4. Stir and cook into the veggies mix for 3-4 minutes

  5. Pour in the chopped tomatoes (optional), then the crushed tomatoes  (or sauce). Add the dried parsley here if using it and simmer for 10 min

  6. Add 1 can of the drained Tuna, gently stir to incorporate the mixture.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add in any addtional italian seasoning and fresh parsley.

  8. Note – this may look like a lot of sauce but the beans will absorb some of the liquid, so better to have more than less.

  9. Add the 2 can of cannoling beans (now here my Mom and I disagree – she says to add with juice and I tend to rinse mine instead)

  10. Stir well and cook on low about 25 min.
  11. After 25 min, add the second can of drained Tuna gently. (I add them separate to keep some larger shreds of the tuna – but you add them both at the same time too earlier on)

  12. Stir once and cook on low another 5 min.
  13. Put on a pot of water to boil
  14. At the boil, add salt to the water and cook the pasta in according to directions. You want it cooked but firm. Note: I will undercook the pasta a few minutes because it will continue to cook in the sauce.

  15. Keep some of the water from the pasta back before you drain the pasta boil in case you need it to thin the sauce (about a cup should do it) or just use a slotted spoon or spider whisk and remove pasta and place right into the sauce pan.

  16. Stir together and taste. Adjust any seasoning to taste

  17. Turn off the heat, and its ready to serve. You can keep this warm in a slow cooker.

  18. Thicken or Thin the mixture according to taste – if you want this more of a soup, thin it out with the pasta water. Thicker and it will be a more hearty stew.

Optional Add-ins include:

  • Chopped onions, carrots, roasted peppers etc.
  • Other herbs that you like with fish can also be used such as fennel or dill, speaking of, you can use any canned fish or shelled shellfish in the dish as well.

Note: You can also cook the pasta a few days earlier, cool and store in a large storage bag and just add it direct to the sauce heated mixture when needed.

Note: I didn’t grow up with cheese in seafood based red sauces – so I only add grated cheese when I make this with meat. But you can do as you please, just don’t add the grated cheese until it’s off the heat.

This dish reheats great in a microwave.

Tuna Past’ n Beans (or Pasta e fagioli w/ Tuna)