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olive and tuna spaghetti all'Ascolana
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5 from 20 votes

Olive and tuna spaghetti all'Ascolana recipe from Marche

Spaghetti all’Ascolana is a fast and easy to make olive and tuna spaghetti recipe from the Ascoli Piceno province in the Marche region of Italy. The star of this dish is large green olives called Ascolana olives which the province is famous for. Of course, you can use other types of green olives. Perfect for weeknights and family meals. Can be ready in 30 minutes!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Marche, Mediterranean
Keyword: all'Ascolana, authentic Italian pasta recipe, olive and tuna pasta, spaghetti recipe, tuna pasta
Servings: 4
Calories: 688kcal


  • 400 g spaghetti or bucatini (14oz) you can also use penne or ziti.
  • 350 g tomato passata (12oz) purée or crushed
  • 200 g quality tuna in olive oil (7oz)
  • 200 g large pitted green olives (7oz) best are Ascolana olives, green Castelvetrano or Cerignola from Italy or Gordal from Spain
  • 4-6 anchovy fillets in oil removed from the oil and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 red peperoncino or 1/2 tsp peperoncino flakes chopped
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper. to taste
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.


Prepare the ingredients

  • Drain and chop the tuna, peel the garlic and chop the fresh peperoncino if using. (remove the seeds to make it less spicy). Cut the olives into halves or rounds. If they still have stones, you’ll have to pit them. Chop the parsley.

Make the sauce

  • Heat the oil with the garlic cloves and peperoncino in a heavy pan. Add the pitted and chopped olives. Let everything fry for a few minutes, then add the tomato passata (puree) and a little salt and pepper, mix, cover and cook for about ten minutes. Add the drained and chopped tuna, the chopped anchovies and the chopped parsley. Stir,continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes and turn off the heat. Remove the garlic cloves.

Cook the pasta and finish the dish

  • Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. When ready, save some pasta cooking water and drain. Add the pasta to the Ascolana sauce and mix everything together. If the sauce seems dry, add a little of the pasta cooking water. Serve with more chopped parsley and red chilli if required.


Some people like to cook the anchovies at the beginning with the garlic and chilli pepper. This was they tend to melt and leave a deep umani flavour without being noticeable.