Thursday, 27 January 2011

Tuna, Pesto, Pasta

I came across Student Recipes, a website which caters to students and their unique requirements, such as providing recipes for one, as well as recipes for party food, snacks and quick meals. All contributors appear to be students. One recipe which caught my eye was for a tuna pesto pasta dish. Since I had some pesto already made from last time, I thought this would be an opportunity for me to use it. The recipe called for a pepper though, and since I was not keen on buying a whole bag of Basics peppers given that I am due to go skiing this weekend, I decided to buy this instead.

I believe this is a relatively new product, not having come across this before in my previous visits. It is pretty much similar to the Basics Olives in Sunflower Oil that I have reviewed earlier, but includes both green and black olives. I do not see any fresh alternatives to this, not even from the brand names. In my mind, tuna and olives really go well together, and mixing in the homemade pesto would give a nice mix of flavours; the slightly salty tuna, the fruity olives, and the general intensity of the pesto coming together.

Preparation was a simple matter of mixing in the can of tuna and packet of olives into the bowl of pesto that I had prepared in the previous post. The result was a cheap and nutritious base to which I can add pasta or rice, or use as a sandwich filling. The total estimated cost came up to about £2 to last for 3 meals, half of which can be attributed to the olives. Your initial outlay may be a bit high however, having to get the Italian Hard Cheese for £2 first.

When used with pasta, I got something that looked fairly fancy, which tasted good as well. I certainly would not mind doing this again in future, if only to save time preparing food when I come back from work.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Roasted Salted Cashews£1.32200g+£0.39 for 100gMore consistent sizes, whole nuts instead of halves.
Italian Hard Cheese£2.00200g+£0.50Actual proper Italian cheese, stronger taste.
Sliced Mixed Olives£1.0990g+£N/AN/A, no direct alternative.


  1. I just wanted to ask about the basics tuna. After my bad experience with the pork sausages I was afraid to buy some. How does it taste?

  2. Hi Chamal, and glad to hear from you. The Basics tuna is pretty fishy, akin to similar but more upmarket canned tuna products. I'm guessing that Sainsbury's cuts costs to produce it by using other varieties of tuna other than Skipjack (Wikipedia provides an excellent reference of the kinds of tuna one can find), and using just brine as opposed to the standard own-brand tuna chunks, which are available in both brine and sunflower oil.

    Generally though, I find the Basics tuna to be pretty safe to eat; the lines of Basics products to avoid are those which usually involve processing, eg. Beef Mince, Sausages as you have pointed out, Chicken Kiev, as these products provide more opportunities to cut corners.

    Of course, one man's meat is another man's poison, so caveat emptor, if you find your own observations of the Basics tuna to be out of line with mine, please leave your comments here! If you're really worried, then you may like to know that for only 16p more (according to mySupermarket at time of writing) you can get your hands on the regular tuna that Sainsbury's has.

  3. Thanks. I'll buy the tuna next time i go shopping. I'm a student so I'm using a lot of basics stuff. I'm definitely going to try out some of your recipes, you must be a great cook.


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