Leek and Tuna Pasta

Leek and Tuna Pasta

When I made this leek and tuna pasta last night for an easy sups I had no intention of posting this, especially as there are two other versions of this on here already. That was until I tasted it. I just love this time of year for certain vegetables, including leeks that really do come into their own – packed full of flavour. The only way I like them is to pan-fry them over low heat with lots of olive oil until they’re soft, sticky and sort of caramelised. If they have any bite left to them I’m not overly keen. Okay, so the food on the plate looks like glorified baby food. There’s a reason for that: my lower right wisdom tooth is cutting through – again. This has been going on for eight or nine years now. Most of the time they’re dormant, at least. So, it’s just as well I’m really into soups and comfort food, at the moment, as I can’t bite on anything too chewy or crunchy right now.

Leek and Tuna Pasta, with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley


  • olive oil
  • 300g (10.58 oz) x white and pale green only parts of leeks, trimmed, sliced crossways into discs and thoroughly washed
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, ripped
  • 1 x 185g or 130g drained weight (6.52 or 4.58 oz drained) can tuna flakes or chunks in brine, well drained
  • 1/4 x teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to personal taste
  • 1/2 x organic vegetable stock cube
  • 100ml (0.211 US pt lqd) x cold water
  • up to 1/2 x soup ladleful of cooking liquor (from the nearly cooked spaghetti)
  • 60 – 80g (2.11 – 2.82 oz) x spaghetti per person, cooked to the pack’s instructions (or a favourite pasta), more to personal taste
  • lots of freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano
  • fresh parsley, rinsed and finely chopped, to serve
  • seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to serve
  • extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 2 (out of 6) with a good glug of olive oil. Add the thoroughly washed leeks and bay leaf and cover with a lid for the first 15 minutes, stirring through occasionally. Remove lid and continue to cook for as long as 40 minutes to get the leeks nicely sticky and sort of caramelised, adding a splash or 2 of water if leeks are drying out. Don’t worry if there’s a little bit of scorching as it all adds to the final flavour as the stock will grab all of that sediment.
  • If you prefer to stay with the pan then cook the above on moderate heat, stirring through far more often to prevent scorching. Add a splash of water halfway through to prevent the leeks from drying out.
  • Push the leeks to the sides and add a glug more oil if necessary. Add the tuna and allow to settle. Again, don’t worry if the tuna catches on base of pan as it is all extra flavour. On lowish heat I would give this 15 minutes or more.
  • When the tuna is beginning to turn a little golden in places stir through and push the mixture to the sides. Add a glug more oil, if necessary, and sprinkle over the cayenne pepper. Don’t allow much time for it to infuse. Pour in the water, add the half stock cube, up the heat to No 4 to reach boiling point. Reduce heat to No 1 or 2 to help reduce the sauce. This should have a cling to the pasta consistency only rather than being served wet. If sauce dries out too much add some of the pasta cooking liquor, again allowing more time and upping the heat to reduce to an almost creamy consistency.
  • Cook the spaghetti or pasta shapes to the pack’s instructions in plenty of cold water with added sea salt crystals, probably for a minute less than it states on the pack to achieve al dente.
  • Remove bay leaf and discard before serving. Serve with lots of grated or shaved Parmesan or Grana Padano. Snip or finely chop some rinsed parsley, sprinkling that over the top of plates. Drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil and eat!

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. I don’t think it looks like baby food. I think it looks like awesome food! I had to have 3 of the 4 wisdom teeth removed: end of problem! I have 25% of wisdom left… I can hear some people saying: “cheese on tuna, mon Dieu!”. All I have to say is YES, cheese on tuna. I mean, it’s 9.30 and it still looks delicious. 🙂
    (OK, next comment will be 5 words long max, I promise)


    • You’re kidding! 3 out of 4! Ouch! I only have the 2 lower coming through, and, unusually for me, they’re the only teeth growing in my head how they should be. Although, I’ve had 5 extracted from the age of 5 so I know how painful that can be.
      Parmesan on tuna – not de rigueur?!? Not on fresh tuna, though. Lemon, olive oil and seasoning only.
      I hope you use more than 5 the next time! Always enjoy your comments!


      • It was horrible, all 3 in the same session and one was still half inside, so even worse..Anyway, the 4th is counting months, I was told it’s better to remove it as well. No wisdom at all for moi!
        Not on fresh tuna, obviously. 🙂
        Broke the 5 words rule already.. Doh!


        • Horrors! The worst for me was having two of my lower back teeth, one on either side, extracted within two weeks. Couldn’t eat properly for weeks.
          And, please keep breaking your unnecessary 5 word rule!


    • Actually, you and me both. I’m starving right now and can’t be bothered to cook. So it’s stir-fry time. Oddly, this is my second most viewed post on here. I’ve ever understood that as this is so simple. And it’s an absolute age since I bothered to make it. What could I sub the tuna with?! Maybe I’ll look for tofu tomorrow, if I make it to the dreaded superstore!


      • Tofu, crispy, would be so great… or smoked salmon… or even some smoked oysters from a can (gasp!). I loved eating those in Spain. 🙂 I think the simplicity of the dish is enticing, and everyone loves pasta!


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