Repurpose Canned Tuna Oil For An Umami-Packed Red Sauce

Red sauce may be a classic pizza, pasta, and dipping sauce, but there are many different ways to make it and strong opinions to match. While some say you must let your marinara simmer for hours, others claim that 30 minutes is all it takes. While certain sauce-makers add sugar to balance the tomatoes' acidity, some Italians may opt out of sugar in favor of using the freshest, sweetest tomatoes. And while people may dump extras like onions, garlic, and carrots into their tomato sauce, plenty prefer it without these additions.

If you fall into the former camp and aren't afraid of experimenting with a few extra ingredients, you may want to dabble in making a tuna pasta sauce with canned tuna. Does the thought of adding fish to your red sauce seem a bit strange? All the health benefits that come along with canned tuna may start to change your mind. 

While canned food is often associated with being unhealthy, tinned tuna is full of protein and low in fat and calories, depending on the type you get. It's also packed full of Omega-3s, which may support heart, eye, and brain health, according to Healthline. Apart from its nutritious value, incorporating canned tuna may be a worthwhile endeavor in terms of flavor as well.

Adding canned tuna infused with oil brings in a savory element

More specifically, canned tuna can add a boost of umami flavor to your red sauce. You'll want to make sure to get the kind packed in olive oil, as canned tuna is sometimes packed in water, which may thin out your sauce. And while many tinned tuna recipes call for draining the fish, don't get rid of that tuna-infused oil, as it is key to bringing a salty depth of flavor to red sauce.

Once you've secured your fish, it couldn't be easier to make the fish-based red sauce. Whether you're using jarred marinara or making your own, all you have to do is add in the tuna and its oil after you've mixed the pasta with the sauce, but before garnishing with whatever herbs you're using. When tossing the tuna and pasta together, be gentle to avoid overly breaking up the fish chunks. 

Not only is this an incredibly simple step in your sauce cooking process, but it's a cheap addition, too, with some cans running as low as a few dollars, although you may pay a little more for a higher-quality tin. 

If you'd like to enjoy tuna red sauce as the Italians do, try making it around Christmas time. Fish is typically eaten on Christmas Eve in Italy, and this tuna-infused sauce is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit — although it can be enjoyed any time of the year.