Spicy Whole Grain Pasta with Sweet Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts


As promised in my last post, today is the day for spicy whole grain pasta. With other tasty additions, like raisins and toasted pine nuts.

… Wait. Raisins?

That’s right, my culinarily adventurous friend! Raisins are the perfect addition to spicy tomato sauce. They add just the right amount of sweetness. There’s nothing quite like taking a bite of tomato sauce and finding that little taste of sweet.

Don’t believe it? Try this dish. Trust me. It’s good.


The recipe is based on one in this book and was mentioned on THIH before. Do you remember? I described the pasta in this post, written when THIH was less than two weeks old. You know a recipe’s a keeper when you’re still enjoying it 3.5 years later.

It’s strange to look back on old posts. Not that I’m a paradigm of sophistication now, but some of those earliest posts make me cringe. Still, it was nice to remember the birth of T-rex arms. And no, I haven’t thought about barefoot running since I wrote that post.


Serve this pasta with a salad or your favorite sauteed veggies for a complete meal. So easy!

Spicy Whole Grain Pasta with Sweet Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 30 minutes

  Keywords: saute entree pasta tomato nuts


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce box or jar of chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 2 5-ounce cans light tuna, drained
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper


Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add garlic, anchovies, capers, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 minutes. Add boxed and fresh tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

While sauce cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Heat a small pan over low heat and toast pine nuts, stirring frequently. Alternatively, toast pine nuts in oven at 250 degrees for 25 minutes.

After sauce has simmered, add tuna and raisins. Once tuna is heated through, remove sauce from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top pasta with sauce and sprinkle with pine nuts and parsley if desired.

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Have a [positive adjective] day!

P.S. Remember this honey recipe from last June? Well, it won a contest! Check it out on the National Honey Board Website.


P.P.S. Remembering 9/11


  1. I love the sweet and savory in dishes like this! It’s like a flavor par-tay in every bite!

  2. Yes, wait a minute, raisins?! I’ve never thought about using raisins in tomato sauce, but I can see why you did it: a sweet and spicy tomato sauce, perfect combination!

  3. Hi Jessie. Yes, I love savory and sweet in main dishes. Do you know much about tuna and breastfeeding? I avoided it during pregnancy but I’m not sure if I should continue to do so now. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Monet! Go ahead and have tuna – just stick with the light canned tuna rather than the albacore/white (which has more mercury). If you do end up eating albacore, no more than one 5-6 oz. can per week is the general recommendation. Otherwise, enjoy! It’s a great protein source 🙂

  4. Congratulations Jessie! Here’s to many more years of awesome blog posts from you! 😉

    1. Aww, thanks Lucy! Hope all is well!

  5. Such a creative combo of flavour! I would never have thought to put raisins in tomato sauce but can’t wait to try it. Sometimes the strangest combos give you the best flavours 🙂

    Congrats on your honey recipe win!

    1. Thanks, Christina! 🙂

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