Roasted fennel, tuna and chilli pasta

Blitz up some roasted fennel and tinned tomatoes for this pantry pasta.
Blitz up some roasted fennel and tinned tomatoes for this pantry pasta. Photo: Katrina Meynink

This takes about five minutes longer than it takes to boil your water and cook your pasta, yet has the potential to taste like you made an effort. Everything you need, other than a fresh head of fennel, a few cloves of garlic and a little prosciutto, is already in your pantry – that's what makes this a speedy, wondrous dinner. And if you don't have any prosciutto, replace with about 1 teaspoon of capers – fry them with the garlic for the salty garlicky wonder that is.


1 head fennel, sliced 1cm thick, fronds reserved

3 tbsp olive oil

375g linguine

2 x 125g cans smoked tuna in oil (about 250g)

400g can cherry tomatoes

400g can crushed tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1-2 slices of prosciutto per serve (optional)

1 tsp chilli flakes


1. Preheat oven to 190 fan-forced (210C conventional). Spread sliced fennel on a baking tray and coat generously in the oil. Roast for about 15 minutes.

2. While the fennel is roasting, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cook linguine according to packet instructions.

3. While the pasta is cooking and the fennel is roasting, add the tuna (plus all the oil in the can) and the cherry tomatoes to a saucepan and place over low heat to warm through.

4. When the fennel is done, add the pieces to a blender (reserve the oil in the tray) with the can of crushed tomatoes and pulse until fully incorporated. Add it to the saucepan with the cherry tomatoes and tuna. Stir to combine and heat until properly warmed through.

5. Pour the residual oil from the fennel roasting tray into a small frying pan and place over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and prosciutto (or capers) and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic is cooked through and golden and the prosciutto (or capers) crisp.

6. Divide pasta among plates, spoon on tuna sauce and top with the garlic, prosciutto and reserved fennel fronds. Season with salt and pepper then give each serve a hefty pinch of chilli flakes and serve.