Tuna carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish that has become popular all over the world. This recipe typically includes spaghetti, eggs, pancetta or bacon, and Parmesan cheese. However, there are many variations of this dish, including the use of canned tuna as a substitute for pancetta or bacon. In this blog, we will discuss some tips and suggestions for preparing a delicious tuna carbonara dish that stands out from the rest.
Using Butter for Sautéing
One of the key aspects of this recipe is the use of butter for sautéing. While traditional carbonara recipes call for the use of pancetta or bacon, butter can be a great alternative for those who don’t eat pork or want a milder flavor. Sautéing the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in butter will add a rich and creamy taste to the dish.
Including Cheese and Parsley
Another way to enhance the flavor and texture of your tuna carbonara is to include cheese and parsley. While Parmesan cheese is traditionally used in carbonara dishes, other types of cheese such as cheddar or mozzarella can also be used to add an extra layer of flavor. Fresh parsley can also be added to the dish to add a pop of color and freshness.
Using Cream of Mushroom Soup
To add even more richness and creaminess to your tuna carbonara, you can use cream of mushroom soup. This ingredient will give your dish a velvety texture and an earthy flavor. It is recommended to use condensed cream of mushroom soup in cans, such as Campbell’s, or dehydrated sachets, like Knorr cream of mushroom soup. If using the dehydrated version, it is important to dissolve it in water before adding it to the sauce to avoid lumps.
Choosing the Right Canned Tuna
When purchasing canned tuna, it is important to choose the right type. It is suggested to buy tuna solids or chunks as they contain more fish meat compared to tuna flakes. Tuna solids also have a more desirable texture than flakes. Whether the tuna is packed in brine or oil does not significantly affect the taste of the dish. However, it is important to drain the brine from the tuna if it is packed in brine to avoid an overly salty sauce.
Cooking the Pasta
Cooking the pasta correctly is key to making a delicious tuna carbonara dish. It is recommended to use spaghetti or fettuccine for this recipe. In a deep pot, bring 1 liter of water to a boil and add salt and cooking oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once the pasta is cooked and tender, drain the water and rinse the pasta with tap water to prevent it from overcooking. Let it drain for a few minutes and then transfer it to a Tupperware or any container that can hold the pasta.
Making the Sauce
To make the sauce for your tuna carbonara, melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and sauté until tender. Then, add the tuna and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes and season with magic sarap, salt, and pepper. Next, add in the milk, water, cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and Nestle cream and stir and simmer until the sauce boils. Continue stirring until the sauce becomes thick. Add the parsley and stir again for a few seconds. Turn off the heat.
Combining the Pasta and Sauce
Once the sauce is ready, pour it on top of the spaghetti or fettuccine and garnish with parsley and grated cheese. Alternatively, you can toss the pasta with the sauce and serve it immediately
Notes on the Ingredients:
When buying canned tuna, it’s important to choose tuna solids or chunks as they contain more fish meat compared to tuna flakes. Tuna solids also have a more desirable texture compared to flakes. Whether in brine or oil does not matter much, as it has the same taste. However, if the tuna is in brine, it’s best to drain it first before using it in the recipe as the brine may be too salty if included in the sauce.
Butter is used for sautéing the onions and garlic in the recipe. It adds a rich and creamy flavor to the dish.
Cheese is a key ingredient in the carbonara sauce as it adds a creamy and salty flavor. Parmesan cheese is commonly used in carbonara, but any type of cheese that melts well can be used.
Parsley adds a fresh and herbaceous flavor to the dish. It’s a common garnish for carbonara, but it can also be added to the sauce for extra flavor.
Cream of Mushroom Soup:
This is a key ingredient in the carbonara sauce as it adds a rich and creamy texture. It can be bought in cans or sachets, but make sure to dissolve the dehydrated soup mix in water before adding it to the sauce to avoid lumps. Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup is recommended.
Spaghetti or Fettuccine:
These are the most commonly used pasta for carbonara. It’s important to cook the pasta al dente, which means it’s firm but not hard.
Onion and Garlic:
These aromatic ingredients add depth of flavor to the dish. Make sure to sauté them until they’re tender and fragrant.
Milk and Nestle Cream:
These add creaminess to the sauce. Nestle cream is a popular brand of table cream in the Philippines, but any type of heavy cream or whipping cream can be used as a substitute.
Magic Sarap (Granulated Seasoning):
This is a brand of all-purpose seasoning commonly used in Filipino cooking. It can be substituted with any type of all-purpose seasoning or salt and pepper to taste.
How To Cook Tuna Carbonara
- 1 kilo Spaghetti or Fettuccine pasta you can use any pasta
- 2 cans tuna solid in oil 184 grams per can
- 1 medium size can Nestle cream
- 1 tsp. magic sarap
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- 50 grams butter
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 medium size onion chopped
- 1 liter water for cooking the pasta
- 1 small can button mushroom sliced
- 1 small can cream of mushroom soup e.g. Campbell's condensed cream of mushroom soup
- few stalks of parsley chopped finely
- 1 370ml can evaporated milk
- 3/4 cup water
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
How to Cook Tuna Carbonara
- In a deep pot put the 1 liter of water and bring to a boil.
- Then add salt and cooking oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- Put the Spaghetti or Fettuccine and cook according to the instruction on the package.
- Stir the pasta from time to time to avoid the pasta sticking on the bottom of the pot.
- Check if the pasta is already cooked and tender, firm but not hard (al dente).
- Then drain the water from the pasta and fill the pot with tap water to prevent the pasta from overcooking.
- Drain the water again and pour the pasta in a colander or strainer to remove the excess water.
- Let it drain for a few minutes then transfer to a Tupperware or any container that can hold the pasta. Set aside.
- In a medium size saucepan, in a medium fire, melt the butter and saute onion and garlic until tender then add the sliced mushrooms.
- Stir fry the mushrooms until the sides are seared and a little brown.
- Then add the tuna and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes and season with magic sarap, salt and pepper.
- Add in the milk, water, cheese, cream of mushroom soup and nestle cream and stir and simmer until the sauce boils.
- Continue stirring until the sauce becomes thick. Add the parsley and stir again for a few seconds. Turn off heat.
- Pour the carbonara sauce on top of the Spaghetti or Fettuccine and garnish with parsley and grated cheese. Or just toss the pasta on with the sauce and serve.
Cooking Tips for Tuna Carbonara Recipe:
- This recipe is an improved version of the simple tuna carbonara recipe. Three additional ingredients I think is what makes this recipe stands from the rest, the butter for sauteing, cheese and parsley.
- Don’t forget those three ingredients for this tuna carbonara recipe as much as possible and if parsley is not available, you can omit it but it taste really good with parsley. And also don’t forget the cream of mushroom soup.
- You can buy condensed cream of mushroom soup in cans like Campbell’s which is recommended or you can use the dehydrated one sold in sachets like the Knorr cream of mushroom soup but you have to dissolve it in water before adding it to avoid lumps.
- When buying tuna in cans, buy the tuna solids or chunks because it contains more fish meat compared to tuna flakes. And in my experience, tuna solids has a more desirable texture compared to flakes. Whether in brine or in oil in my opinion does not matter because it taste the same. When the tuna is in brine, you should drain it first because the brine might be too salty if you include when making the sauce.
Nutrition Notes:Calorie and other nutrition information is derived from HappyFolks.Com recipe nutrition calculator. The percent daily value (%DV) is based on a daily 2,000 calorie diet.
Nutrition Information:Amount per Serving:360g, Calories:611kcal, From fat:159, Total fat:18.1g, Saturated Fat:9.8g, Trans Fat:0.2g, Cholesterol:46mg, Sodium: 514mg Total Carbohydrate: 83g, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 28g, Vitamin A: 20%, Vitamin C: 18%, Calcium: 21%, Iron: 12%