Penne with tuna 'meatballs'

Jill Dupleix
Tuna meatballs.
Tuna meatballs. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Fresh tuna makes lovely light 'meatballs' for kids and grown-ups, pepped up with lemon zest and parmesan and cooked in a rich tomato sauce.


60g stale country bread, shredded

125ml milk

500g fresh tuna, trimmed of bloodlines

2 tbsp parmesan, finely grated

6 tbsp flatleaf parsley

1 tbsp lemon zest, grated

1 egg, lightly beaten

Sea salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

2 x 400g canned cherry tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

3 tbsp raisins

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sugar

300g penne or rigatoni

2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted


Soak bread in milk for five minutes, then squeeze out milk. Cut tuna into small cubes. Lightly mix bread with tuna, parmesan, two tablespoons chopped parsley, lemon zest, egg, sea salt and pepper, and form into 12 medium-sized meatballs.

Heat oil in a pan and cook meatballs over medium heat for five minutes until golden all over.

To make sauce, combine cherry tomatoes, garlic, raisins, olive oil, two tablespoons chopped parsley, sugar, sea salt and pepper in a large fry pan. Add a dash of water and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes until cooked through.

Cook pasta in simmering salted water until al dente and drain. Divide between four warm pasta plates and top with tuna meatballs and sauce. Scatter with remaining parsley and pine nuts.