Barca Tuna sauce

February 28, 2012

Author Notes: Though I love planning holidays, I still forget things to pack. This time, I remembered the salt, sugar, tomato ketchup, my homemade pancake mix – a blend of flour, ground oats, bran, cinnamon and maple flakes, orange tea and hagelslag. I forgot the rice, the pasta, noodles and everything else in between. We arrived Barcelona hungry and I berated myself.

Right across from our holiday apartment, there is a store. We go in and I head for the carbohydrate aisle, past the beans and rice and straight for the quick cook pasta. J picks up a pack of broken spaghettini and I make that two. Once we know what dinner is made off, we think about the sauce. We spot some sardines, in search of corned beef and tuna. I grab a tin of aceituna neguila – black olives, a bottle of smooth tomato sauce, a jar of preserved red piquillo peppers, 2 onion bulbs, some garlic, vegetable oil, bacon bits and Leon’s chorizo. French bread, regular bread, eggs and milk; cans of coca cola, fanta and a large bottle of agua later, we’re done. Ready to make our first family dinner in Spain.

Back in the kitchen, I bang pots about and the end result is something like this - a delicious sauce that has us hankering for more - every single one of us! Fingers are licked. Plates wiped clean and a personal reminder to myself - pack right.
Kitchen Butterfly

Food52 Review: This is a quick, smart, and surprisingly complex Spanish pantry sauce that would do any pound of pasta very proud. If you're like me and embrace the chicken of the sea, then you'll want to increase the tuna by another can and maybe even throw in a few anchovies when you're sizzling your tuna oil. It's spicey and rich and the bacon and tomato combo is, as you would expect, delectable. favabean

Makes: a whole pot
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min


  • 1 medium sized onion, peeled and chopped
  • 125 g bacon bits (or more to taste)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 100g chorizo, chopped
  • 200g piquillo (roasted red pepper) strips or roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 800g smooth tomato sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Pepperoncini Mancinati or cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano or mixed Greek herbs
  • To serve, fresh & crusty bread for dipping, sliced black olives, freshly cooked spaghettini and torn basil leaves
  • 2 '170g' tins of Tuna in olive/sunflower oil
In This Recipe


  1. Set out a heavy bottomed saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of the tuna oil from the tin to the pan. Let heat up gently on low - medium heat. Add the onions, a pinch of salt and sweat for about 4 - 5 minutes, stirring till softened. Add the bacon bits, stirring all the while. After 2 -3 minutes, add the garlic slices and let cook for a minute.
  2. Into the pan, add the chopped chorizo and piquillo strips. Stir for a few minutes and then add the tomato sauce, tuna flakes and dried herbs. Season to taste and stir well. Set to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring and ensuring the bits at the bottom are moved about.
  3. Adjust seasoning and your 'hot' sauce is ready. Enjoy.

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