Pretend It's Friday Every Weeknight With This Pasta Recipe

Ben Dearnly
Ben Dearnly

After a long day, we all crave some savory, filling food fast, and this recipe from In the Kitchen by Simmone Logue ($20) provides all of that in less than a half hour. You can probably find all of the ingredients already in your pantry, meaning you won't have to spend your hard-earned cash at your local takeout spot.

Ben Dearnly

Friday Night Tuna Pasta

Cook TimePreparation 10 Minutes, Cooking 15 Minutes
YieldServes 4

From In the Kitchen by Simmone Logue


    • Labneh:
    • 1 kilogram (2 pounds 4 ounces) creamy Greek-style yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon fine salt
    • 6 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut into quarters
    • 2 red bird’s eye chillies, halved lengthways, seeds intact
    • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
    • Virgin olive oil, for covering the labneh
    • Tuna Pasta:
    • 500 grams (1 pound, 2 ounces) packet of spaghetti
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (optional)
    • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 2 fresh bay leaves
    • 400 grams (14 ounces) tin chopped tomatoes
    • 45 grams (1 1/2 ounces / 1/4 cup) black or green olives
    • 1 tablespoon baby salted capers, rinsed
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 425 grams (15 ounces) tin good-quality tuna with chilli
    • 10 basil leaves
    • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
    • Zest of 1 lemon, plus extra to garnish
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon
    • Labneh to serve (optional)


    1. Lay a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) in a medium-size bowl.

    2. (Alternatively, you could use two large clean sheets of open-weave cloth, laying the top cloth so the weave is sitting at right angles to the weave in the bottom cloth.)

    3. In a separate bowl, mix together the yoghurt and salt, then tip into the muslin-lined bowl. Gather up the sides of muslin and tie together with a piece of kitchen string. (It's good to have a friend to help at this point — one to gather and hold, and the other to tie the string.)

    4. Place the cloth-wrapped yoghurt in a sieve, then set the sieve over the bowl, so that the whey (the watery liquid component of the yoghurt) will drain down into the bowl. Now put the whole thing in the fridge and forget about it for a while. What you are doing is making is yoghurt cheese, and the longer you leave it to drain, the firmer your cheese will become. I like to leave it for 2 days.

    5. After 2 days, discard the whey that has accumulated in the bowl.

    6. When you peel away the cloth, you should find that the curd has turned into a soft, creamy cheese. With clean hands, roll the cheese into balls a bit larger than a walnut. Place them back in the bowl, or in a large sterilised glass preserving jar. Add the thyme, garlic, chilli and peppercorns, then cover the labneh with a good layer of olive oil.

    7. Store in the fridge; the labneh will keep for up to 1 month. Always use a sterilised spoon to retrieve the labneh, and make sure the cheese is always submerged under the oil.

    8. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan or saucepan. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bay leaves over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, olives, capers, sugar, and salt. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

    9. Turn the heat off, then add the tuna, basil, and parsley. Gently break up the tuna; I like to leave it quite chunky, mixing it through the sauce when the heat is off so the tuna doesn't dry out; it should just warm through with the residual heat of the sauce. Add a good grind of black pepper, the lemon zest, and lemon juice, then check the seasoning.

    10. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and toss the remaining tablespoon of olive oil through. While the spaghetti is still hot, add it to the sauce and fold through.

    11. Transfer to warm shallow bowls and sprinkle with extra lemon zest.

    12. Serve with a dollop of labneh on top if you have it on hand and an extra drizzle of olive oil if desired.


    Here we are, at one of my all-time favorite dishes. All the Logue family cooks this one. We affectionately call it our "Friday Night" tuna pasta, even though we also eat it on Monday nights, Tuesday nights, Sunday nights, and even Saturdays! It gained its "Friday Night" nickname as it's always been our go-to meal when we arrive home late after a huge week at work and play. It's the easiest dish on the planet, and one of the quickest and tastiest too - and all the ingredients can be found in the pantry. It's a real keeper.