I didn’t grow up with casseroles. I’m not sure exactly why, but somewhere along the line, casseroles got a bad name. In my mind, the exception to this is mac and cheese (which come on, mac and cheese is totally a casserole in disguise) and breakfast casseroles (because eggs and sausage cannot and will not ever get a bad name). I don’t personally have an issue with casseroles, but because I didn’t grow up with them, I don’t ever think to make them now. Also, I’m not sure that I’ve ever in my life had tuna noodle casserole, which I’m pretty sure is the most discussed casserole of all. It’s also probably the one that has the worst reputation… But I’ve always thought it sounded kind of appealing. Tuna and pasta? How can that ever be a bad thing?
When Genova Tonno asked me to create a recipe using their light tuna in olive oil, I had a million ideas running through my head. But this weather has me seriously craving pasta all of the time and I haven’t been eating it nearly enough. About five years ago, I think I ate pasta for dinner about four times a week. Pasta, a little bit of butter, some peas, and a whole lot of parmesan cheese. I slowly made the switch to whole wheat pasta at home, so I could eat larger bowls and feel OK about it. But now I rarely have pasta at home except on the occasional “I’m too lazy to cook” evening and didn’t plan anything in advance.
Tuna and pasta doesn’t have to mean tuna casserole. I think people turn to casseroles because they’re generally pretty easy to put together, but this Tuna Meyer Lemon Carbonara is also simple to make at the end of a long day. This isn’t your traditional carbonara as it doesn’t involve pancetta or bacon. I wanted to tuna to be the star of the show… Along with a little seasonal citrus!
Genova Tonno sent me this BEAUTIFUL gift basket to help inspire me. AND they’re also giving one away to one of YOU! So, make sure you enter my giveaway a the end of this post for a sweet selection of Genova Tonno, the “Mediterranean Cooking” Cookbook by Pamela Clark, and Olivewood Serving Board from Sur La Table, and a few other glorious Mediterranean pairings.
If you’re feeling ambitious, this dish would be even more delightful with homemade pasta. But check out the simple ingredients involved in this dish? You likely even have most of them in your kitchen as we speak.
I TOLD you this was the week of zest and I wasn’t lying… I’m back to Meyer lemons again. ’Tis the season.
I’ll admit that I’d never tried Genova Tonno before they sent it my way. But when I told my mom I was developing a recipe for them, she told me that my dad is a HUGE fan of the brand.
After I tried it, I could see why! I think sometimes people are afraid of tuna packed in olive oil, but now that I’ve tried it, I’m not sure I want tuna in water at all anymore! Genova Tonno is premium wild-caught yellowfin tuna. The cans are BPA-free and have no additives or preservatives in them.
The olive oil gives the tuna a richer flavor and I promise it doesn’t make the tuna feel oily. Also? Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which is nothing to be afraid of. Can’t you already tell it looks way tastier than your average tuna?
To start, get your 3/4 lb. linguine boiling in some lightly salted water. You can obviously use whole wheat pasta if you want! Make sure you keep an eye on the pasta and just cook to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 T olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat and add 3 cloves peeled and minced garlic. Sautée for about 30 seconds to a minute, until softened.
Drain the oil from two cans (10 ounces total) of Genova Tonno and place tuna in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in 3 T fresh Meyer lemon juice and 1 t Meyer lemon zest.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, beat 2 eggs and 2 additional egg yolks and mix 3/4 C grated parmesan cheese.
Return drained pasta to the pot and keeping it off the heat, pour egg and parmesan mixture into pasta. Make sure to keep stirring as you pour, so the eggs will cook slowly instead of scrambling.
Mix in garlic, tuna and lemon mixture, and most of the chopped parsley.
Serve pasta on plates, with additional chopped parsley and parmesan sprinkled on top.
And some sliced Meyer lemons on the side.
Dig in to pasta night! Like I said, I’ve never actually had tuna noodle casserole, but I kind of think this is better. Like a lot better. It’s making me wonder why I haven’t been eating pasta regularly. Which could be a good thing or a really bad thing. I’ll keep your updated.
I also don’t know why I’ve never incorporated tuna into my pasta dishes before. All of that is about to change because now that I’ve done it, I’m never turning back. Tuna is not just for tuna melts anymore (and man, I love me a good tuna melt).
Yes, I am still squeezing as much juice out of Meyer lemon season as I can. If it’s going to snow and be miserable out, I will overdose on winter citrus! And now, apparently, pasta.
I love carbonara almost more than anything and at first I was a little bit worried that no pancetta/bacon would ruin a carbonara. But I had nothing to worry about because the tuna brought more than enough flavor, especially when combined with the citrus.. If you’re skeptical about tuna because you think it’s “fishy,” Genova Tonno is the one for you to try. Preferably in this dish.
I don’t go on diets, but if I did, I would totally go on the Mediterranean diet. But I’d add a lot of pasta to it, too. And then I’d eat this every night until Meyer lemon season was over. At which point, I’d probably switch to some kind of summer citrus… key limes perhaps?
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the giveaway for this beauty!!
For a chance to win the above fabulous gift basket, all you have to do is comment on this post telling me What’s your favorite way to enjoy tuna fish?
Enter by Tuesday, March 3, at 11:59 p.m. for a chance to win (must live in the United States to win)!
In the meantime, I hope you’re cuddling up on the couch this weekend with a giant bowl of pasta. One week until Daylight Saving time!!
Tuna Meyer Lemon Carbonara
- 3/4 lb. linguini
- 1 T olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 10 oz. 2 cans Genova Tonno (light tuna packed in olive oil)
- 3 T meyer lemon juice
- 1 t meyer lemon zest
- 2 eggs plus 2 additional yolks
- 3/4 C parmesan cheese grated
- 1/4 C finely chopped parsley
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add linguini and let cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente
- While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic to the skillet and sautée for about 30 seconds to a minute, until softened.
- Drain oil from tuna and place tuna in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in meyer lemon juice and zest.
- In a separate medium bowl, beat eggs and yolks and mix in the grated parmesan.
- When pasta is al dente, drain water. Return to pot while still hot.
- Keeping pot off the heat, pour egg and parmesan mixture into pasta and stir well. Stirring will allow the eggs to cook slowly and keep from scrambling in the hot pasta.
- Mix in garlic, tuna and lemon mixture, and most of the chopped parsley.
- Serve pasta on plates, with additional chopped parsley and parmesan sprinkled on top.
Full Disclosure: Thank you to Genova Tonno for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are 100% my own!