Everyone has their own idea of comfort food, don’t they? For me carbs play a big role in that – when I’m not firing on all cylinders the food I eat is the least of my worries. As such when I want comfort I know exactly what I’m going to make for myself: Lasagne. Served with both garlic bread and chips if things are really bad.
Luckily for me, Michael is cut from similar cloth. Offer him a lasagne and it’s unlikely he’ll turn it down. Alas, it’s not always the quickest of meals to make. Well, properly at least. At times like that you need a bit of a back up plan. Tuna Pasta Bake being the ideal speedy alternative.
I don’t think I’d realised until I made this just how much Michael likes Tuna Pasta Bake. I normally eat a lot quicker than him, but on this occasion he wasn’t that far behind. There were also very few leftovers – not a common occurrence with any of my pasta dishes!!!
As I mentioned above this is a quick dish to prepare and cook. You can get it on the table in under 40 minutes if you’re prepared – with only about 10 minutes of actual work involved at any stage. This short amount of time (for a pasta bake at least) is thanks to a few shortcuts along the way. The first, and most obvious, is using canned tuna. It’s pre-cooked and ready to go – so no faffing around there.
The base of the sauce is also a bit of a cheat ingredient – Condensed Celery Soup. I have no shame in using condensed soups in my recipes. They’re huge time savers and can bring all the desired flavour without the need for lots of chopping, cooking and washing up. My Linguine Tetrazzini was built around condensed mushroom soup and was an absolute winner. The distant flavour of celery in this pasta bake works really well with the other ingredients. The soup is also likely to be a lot healthier than I could ever have been if I made a sauce from scratch!
The only work you really need to do (apart from opening tins and packets) is chopping a few vegetables to give this Tuna Pasta Bake its CRUNCH! I think that adding a bit of texture is vital – as all of the other ingredients can be a little lacking in bite once they’re baked in the oven. I eschewed the more common sweetcorn in this recipe – mostly because neither Michael or I are huge fans of it. The mix of vegetables here really does work – adding colour and flavour, as well as that all important crunch. Plus they’re a lot more interesting that sweetcorn.
One final note – the cheesy topping should crisp up as it bakes in the oven, giving a lovely golden crust. If it doesn’t please take an extra couple of minutes and pop it under the grill. Nobody wants melted cheese without a few little crispy bits, do they?
Tuna Crunch Pasta Bake
- 150 g Dried Pasta
- ½ Red Pepper deseeded and chopped
- 50 g Broccoli Florets chopped
- 2 Spring Onions thickly sliced
- 150 g Tuna Steak from a tin
- 295 g Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
- 100 ml Good Quality Chicken Stock
- 2 tbsp Crème Fraîche
- 75 g Mature Cheddar Cheese grated
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the time shown on the pack.
- While the pasta is cooking mix together the vegetables and tuna in a large bowl.
- Combine the condensed soup, chicken stock and crème fraîche in a second bowl and stir until fully combined.
- When the pasta is cooked,drain well. Pour into the same bowl as the tuna and vegetables and stir until mixed. Pour over the liquid mixture and mix again.
- Pour into an ovenproof dish, then sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes until bubbling and golden.
- If your cheese doesn’t crisp up during this time you can always pop it under the grill for a few minutes. It’s a step that’s worth doing as a crunchy top is definitely what you’re after here.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||14||g|
|of which Sugars||5||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|