Tuna Pasta Bake is one of my children’s favourite meals and is a great Winter Warmer. It’s one of my favourites too because it’s so easy to make and I usually have everything in my store cupboard and fridge for an ’emergency’ meal.
I remember once, when I was newly married, that some friends had come for tea with their children. I had assumed tea and cake, which is what I provided. The children were clearly waiting for a meal. So I quickly made a cheese sauce, added a couple of cans of tuna, one of sweetcorn and some cooked pasta. Voila! Tuna Pasta Bake. Since then I have always kept the necessary ingredients around, although these days I add a few more vegetables in my constant striving to at least attempt to get at least some of their five-a-day into my family.
If you’re in a real hurry, dish up straight from the saucepan, but this TPB does benefit from half an hour in the oven to kind of solidify it. That sounds a bit unattractive, but it does give a different texture – plus a reason to add more cheese on top. In fact, when I made this I was going to freeze it for Christmas, but I was overtaken by greed (and laziness) so we had it for dinner. Well, not all of it for two of us, obviously, so there’s plenty for another day.
So now I’m making another one for Christmas. Ideal really, because it’s one child’s favourite, and another one doesn’t eat meat. So that’s one meal sorted.
Tuna Pasta Bake
- ¾ litre Cheese Sauce, defrosted if previously frozen. See Foolproof Cheese Sauce
- ¾ litre milk
- 75 g butter
- 75 g flour
- 150 g strong Cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder (5ml)
- grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper
For the Tuna Past Bake
- 200 g wholewheat pasta spirals, or whatever you have
- 3 carrots
- 320 g canned tuna, 2 medium cans
- 340 g canned sweetcorn
- 25-50 g grated cheese to finish
- Put the pasta on to cook according to the packet, but slightly undercook
- Peel and grate the carrots
- Drain the tuna and sweetcorn into a colander
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/ gas mark 6/ 400°F
For the Tuna Pasta Bake:
- Make the cheese sauce (see Foolproof Cheese Sauce for details) or gently heat the sauce if made earlier
- Add the drained tuna, grated carrot and sweetcorn and mix well. Add the cooked pasta and stir gently to combine - you don't want to break up the pasta
- Turn into a casserole or gratin dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese
- Cook for 30 minutes until the cheese is beginning to brownIf the cheese sauce is not hot when you put the Tuna Pasta Bake into the oven, cook for an additional 10-15 minutesLeaving it for up to an extra 20 minutes won't hurt
- If time, let it stand for 15 minutes.
Everyday Cooks tip:
- TPB freezes well and can be reheated in the microwave or the oven
- Add more vegetables such as tiny florets of broccoli or cauliflower if you like