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fusilli pasta with canned tuna and black olive pesto
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5 from 1 vote

Fusilli with black olive pesto and tuna

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! 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
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 (12oz)
  • 180 g canned tuna or tuna fillet (6oz)
  • 70 g black olives (2.5oz) 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stir and let the pesto cook on a low heat for about 4 minutes . 
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • 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. 
  • Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and pepperoncino flakes (optional)


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