Lazy dinner for the food-magazine obsessed | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Lazy dinner for the food-magazine obsessed

I have a running scorecard in my head of who makes the best tuna melt in the city.

Encouraging yourself to cook after a long day can be a little challenging. I came home from a friend’s wedding with a (mostly) empty fridge and not a whole lot of energy. Luckily, I had binged on food-magazine subscriptions, and since they all come with online components, I’m constantly being sent recipes, including lots of emails about “simple dinners.” These are great inspirations when none strikes, and this tuna pasta was born out of tinkering with one such recipe. The measurements and the ingredients can be changed up to fit anyone’s palate and, with the exception of parsley, these are mostly pantry ingredients. The meal was satisfying and provided leftovers for work the next day.

While some people cringe at canned tuna, it’s a staple that has long been on my favorite-food list. I have a running scorecard of who makes the best tuna melt in the city (Bryant Street Market, closely followed by Union Grill) and a real Midwestern soft spot for the tuna casserole my sister-in-law made for dinner last Christmas. This is the dressed-up version of such comfort food.


  • ¾ lb. pasta (capellini or angel hair work well)
  • 10 oz. canned tuna, in water or oil, drained
  • 1 can white beans
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. capers
  • spinach or whatever greens you have
  • 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Open and drain the white beans and tuna, and set aside. Chop garlic and drain capers. In a large heatproof bowl, add garlic, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, tuna, white beans, salt, pepper and olive oil, and stir gently to combine. Set aside. In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Place the bowl with the other ingredients over the water so it can heat gently over the steam. Once boiling, remove bowl and add pasta, cooking until al dente. Chop greens and parsley. Drain pasta and combine in the large bowl with other ingredients. Fold in the greens. Top with parsley and serve. 

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