Mindanao is land of abundance. That is why when my uncle comes home from Mindanao, we are always excited as to what pasalubongs he brings for us. His pasalubongs are never kakarampot. In fact, my uncle is prone to excess baggage problems as he tries to bring as much and as many as he can for his family in the Visayas. One of the pasalubongs I always look forward to is canned tuna.
My uncle lives in South Cotabato, which is near General Santos, the tuna capital of the Philippines. He brings with him huge cans of tuna and we have a feast! Because I was tired of our usual tuna stir-fry and tuna balls, I decided to recreate one of my favorite coffee shop food — spaghetti al tonno — which I first tasted from Figaro. Just like many pasta dishes, this dish is very easy to make although I did spend time thinking of that ingredient that could give this dish the taste I was looking for. I found that “taste” from the combination of capers, chili flakes and fresh basil.
Ingredients (from left to right, top to bottom): spaghetti, diced tomatoes, capers, olive oil, canned tuna, onion, garlic, black olives, chili flakes, black pepper, and salt.
The pasta should be cooked. The rest of the ingredients are also cooked. To taste, I adjusted the chili flakes and added chopped fresh basil after the sauce was cooked.