This spicy tuna pasta is so flavorful and so simple to make, you need less than half an hour to feel like you’re dinning at a five star Italian restaurant. Bon appetito!
Table of Contents: Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta Recipe
Table of contents
- Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta Recipe
Make sure to keep scrolling past the recipe card for a deep dive into this spicy ahi tuna pasta recipe. We go over all the ingredients and equipment you’ll need, as well as what to do with leftovers, variations, and FAQ’s.
Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta Recipe
WTF is Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta
When I searched the inter-webs for a good spicy tuna pasta, I could only find canned tuna recipes. Which is fine, for a weekday lunch for children and busy moms, but what about the rest of us? Well, this spicy ahi tuna pasta recipe is my answer to that questions.
It took my wife and I a couple tries to nail it, but this is what we ultimately came up with. Al dente pappardelle noodles tossed in a warm sauce of sesame seed oil, ponzu sauce, wasabi powder, minced Thai chili peppers and shallots. And of course topped with tender slices of ahi tuna, micro greens and flakey sea salt.
It’s got some bold flavors and you might have to hunt to get a couple of the ingredients, but we absolutely love this spicy tuna pasta dish because it not only tastes great, but it only takes 15-20 minutes to make. We hope you enjoy it too!
Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta Ingredients
Here’s a list of everything that you’ll need to make this spicy ahi tuna pasta recipe. Unless you have a Asian supermarket close by, you might have trouble finding some of these items, so I attached a link to help.
- Ahi Tuna: Fresh is always better, but if you can’t find fresh ahi tuna, the freezer section of most groceries will carry frozen ahi tuna steaks. Let them thaw in your fridge the night before you make this spicy tuna recipe.
- Pasta: You can use whatever pasta you prefer in this spicy tuna pasta recipe. We prefer egg pappardelle pasta, the thick noodles have a great bite to them and they wrap around the tuna nicely. De Cecco brand is great.
- Wasabi Powder: You might not be able to find this at your local grocery. Here’s a link for Wasabi Powder.
- Sesame Oil: This is what you’ll sauté’ everything in. Kadayo Pure Sesame Oil is what we use.
- Shallot: Minced.
- Ginger: Fresh Ginger minced or grated.
- Ponzu Sauce: This Japanese condiment combines the savory flavors of soy sauce with the tanginess of citrusy yuzu fruit. This is what we use: Ponzu Sauce
- Thai Chili Peppers: I you can’t find fresh Thai chilis, Serrano peppers or habaneros are decent substitutes. Try jalapeños if you’re afraid of the heat.
Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta Equipment
These are the tools you’ll need to cook this spicy ahi tuna pasta recipe. You probably already have everything you need in your kitchen.
- Skillet: You’ll need two, one to cook the ahi tuna steaks and one to make wasabi ponzu sauce. Timing is important for this tuna pasta recipe, so its best if you have two skillets going at the same time so one component doesn’t get cold while you wait for the other to cook.
- Pot & Stainer: For heating the pasta.
- Sharp Knife: Ahi Tuna is super delicate, you’ll want a really sharp thin knife to get a good cut on your ahi tuna steaks. Remember to slice across the grain. Watch this short video if you need help.
How to Make Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta
Follow these step by step instructions to make this spicy ahi tuna pasta recipe. In order to nail the timing on this recipe you’ll be juggling three things at once, but don’t worry they’re all very simple. Make the sauce, boil the pasta, and sear the tuna. You got this!
Step 1: Prep and Boil Pasta
Bring your ahi tuna steaks out of the fridge 20 minutes prior to cooking so they can come up to room temperature. Pat the tuna steaks dry and season both sides generously with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and black sesame seeds.
Boil Pasta per package instructions. *For 8-10 ounces of egg noodle pappardelle pasta, it should be around 6 minutes in salted boiling water. Strain and set aside.
Step 2: Make the Wasabi Sauce
While your pasta water is boiling, make the sauce that the noodles will be tossed in. Heat the sesame oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add the minced shallots, minced ginger, ponzu sauce, wasabi powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Sauté for 5-7 minutes and reduce heat to medium low.
Step 3: Sear Tuna
Heat another skillet over medium high heat. Sear the tuna for 2 minutes on each side. This will produce a medium cooked ahi tuna steak. Cook longer if you prefer overcooked fish.
Set aside and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Then cut the ahi tuna steaks across the grain into 1/4 inch slices.
Step 3: Combine
Transfer the strained pasta to the sauce skillet. Toss and stir the pasta thoroughly to ensure that every noodle is coated with the sauce. Once all the noodles are evenly coated transfer to a serving plate and top with the ahi tuna slices, micro greens, and a pinch of flakey sea salt. Enjoy!
Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta Leftovers
We doubt you’ll have any leftovers, but if you do, we have a couple tips for optimal storage. Firstly, refrigerate any remaining spicy tuna pasta in an airtight container. If feasible, store the Ahi tuna separately from the pasta. This will help maintain its delicate texture during reheating.
I don’t think you’ll have trouble with this, but try and finish off the spicy tuna pasta leftovers within two or three days. You can totally eat your tuna pasta leftovers cold, but if you prefer them warm, the stovetop is your best bet for control.
Place the spicy pasta noodles in a skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon or so of sesame oil, or simply a splash of water or even vegetable broth. This will help prevent the noodles from drying out too much. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating, and if the Ahi tuna was stored separately, give it a quick sear in a hot pan before topping it back on the spicy noodles.
Alternatively, you can use the microwave, but be cautious, microwave in short intervals, stirring and adding liquid to maintain moisture. Reheating pasta can make things weird, so I suggest just making enough spicy tuna pasta to finish in one sitting.
Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta Variations
You can switch things up if you so please. Here are some ideas for spicy tuna pasta variations.
- Noodles: Try playing with different pasta noodle combinations. We’ve even made this spicy ahi tuna pasta with rice noodles. I’m not sure if it’s considered a pasta if you don’t use wheat noodles, but who cares! Make it delicious.
- Protein: Try making this pasta with simple canned tuna, or an albacore tuna steak. Or change out the protein altogether and use chicken or steak.
- Spice: If you like it spicier, add some red pepper chili flakes to the noodles. Or double down on the wasabi powder or Thai chilis. Alternatively, scale back on the peppers if you want a milder version.
Spicy Ahi Tuna Pasta FAQ’s
While most canned tuna is albacore and not ahi, you could certainly use canned tuna in this recipe. Just keep in mind, the texture and flavor will be much different.
Thin and long pasta varieties like spaghetti or linguine are also great options. Rice noodles are a fun substitute as well.
If you like a little less spice, use half the Thai chili peppers suggested.
More Italian Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe we’d love to hear from you and how it went making this tuna pasta recipe. If you want more fun and delicious recipes, check out these! Cheers and happy eating.