Fusilli pasta with black olive pesto and tuna.

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5 from 1 vote
fusilli pasta with canned tuna and black olive pesto
Fusilli with black olive pesto and tuna
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This pasta with black olive pesto and tuna from Calabria ticked all the boxes. It takes no time at all to make, it’s very flavourful and can be eaten warm or as a salad! 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Calabria, Italian, Southern Italian
Keyword: fusilli, olive pesto, olives, pasta salad, pesto, tuna
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 360 g fusilli
  • 180 g canned tuna or tuna fillet
  • 70 g black olives pitted
  • 4-6 sundried tomatoes
  • 6-8 datterini tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp salted capers rinsed from salt
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • fresh parsley chopped
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • peperoncino flakes (optional)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Finely chop the basil leaves, olives and sun dried tomatoes and the capers, then pulse together with a little olive oil in a food processor to a thick rough consistency (you don’t want it too smooth) Add more olive oil if it seems too dry.

  2. Peel and slice the two garlic cloves and put in a frying pan or skillet with 3-4 tablespoons of heated olive oil when the garlic starts to soften add the olive mixture.

  3. Stir and let the pesto cook on a low heat for about 4 minutes . 

  4. Break up the tuna with a fork, add it to the frying pan and mix it well with the pesto and add the cut fresh tomatoes. Let the sauce cook for a few minutes on a moderate heat uncovered until the tomatoes start to soften.

  5. In the meantime cook the pasta al dente in the boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is ready, save a cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta 

  6. Add the pasta to the sauce. Mix together well and season with salt and pepper as required. If the sauce seems dry, add some of the pasta cooking water and mix again. 

  7. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and pepperoncino flakes (optional)

Recipe Notes

Pasta with black olive pesto and tuna can be served warm, tepid or even cold as a salad.

If you are making extra pesto, you may want to add the garlic to the pesto mixture instead of cooking it separately. 

Fusilli are a great pasta to eat with this pesto but you can also use other short pasta such as penne.

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fusilli pasta with black olive pesto and tuna


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  • Avatar
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt
    March 26, 2018 2:11 pm

    What a tasty dish! I love the use of tuna and olives with the pasta- so cozy!

    • admin
      March 28, 2018 4:00 pm

      Thanks so much Julie. Yes pasta, olives and tuna is a great combination and it can be eaten warm or as a pasta salad! Greetings from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Brian Jones
    March 26, 2018 6:48 am

    I must have a ee bit of latent Italian in me as I share the aversion to cheese and fish, it does not work for me at all. I also love sprinkling pasta dishes with toasted breadcrumbs, I often “melt” down an anchovy fillet or two in the oil that I toast off the breadcrumbs in too!

    This is such a tasty sound recipe, must get round to it soon, sans olives though as the latent ‘Italian’ does not stretch to a love of olives 😉 😀

    • admin
      March 28, 2018 4:05 pm

      I agree there must be some Italian blood in your ancestry Brian. You have very Italian taste! Pity about olives. You can make this with sun-dried tomato pesto instead. That would be good! All the best. Jacqui

  • Avatar
    March 25, 2018 10:44 pm

    I love pasta! I love that this has black olives and tuna, both are some my favorite foods!

    • admin
      March 28, 2018 4:07 pm

      Thank you Deanna! Yes tuna and olives go so well with pasta. It’s a great combo and this dish can be eaten warm or cold as a pasta salad. Greetings from Verona! Jacqui

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