The idea of "spaghetti bolognese" has become a bit of a joke in Italy, as the famous ragù is NEVER paired with spaghetti. There is, though, a real recipe from Bologna called "spaghetti alla bolognese." It's not made with ragù, rather... canned tuna.
We know that canned tuna doesn't always have a stellar reputation (at least in the US), but look for whole chunk tuna in oil and you'll be surprised at how good this pasta is!
Watch the Pasta Grammar recipe where we make this video here:
For this recipe, you will need:
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus some extra for drizzling
- 1/4 large white onion, diced
- 1 can (~5 oz. or 140g) whole chunk tuna under oil, drained
- 1/4 cup (60ml) dry white wine
- 3 canned whole peeled tomatoes, plus a few spoonfuls of the purée from the can
- Fresh black pepper
- 5.5 oz. (160g) spaghetti pasta
- Chopped parsley for topping
Put a large pot of water for the pasta on to boil. As it comes up to temperature, begin making the sauce.
In a large skillet, bring the olive oil up to medium/high heat on a stovetop. Add the diced onion and sauté until the onion is tender and slightly transparent.
Next, add the tuna fish and break it into a fine crumble with a wooden spoon. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook for a couple of minutes—until the smell of alcohol has dissipated.
Add the tomatoes and break them apart as they cook. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste. As the sauce simmers, add a small ladleful of pasta water as needed to maintain moisture in the pan.
Salt the boiling water generously and add the pasta. Cook as directed, but for 2-3 minutes less than the recommended "al dente" cook time. When the pasta is ready, use tongs to transfer it into the sauce.
Turn up the heat and stir all together for several minutes until the pasta is al dente to your taste. Add pasta water into the pan as needed to maintain moisture.
Serve immediately, topped with some spoonfuls of extra sauce from the pan, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. Buon appetito!