We’re not big pasta bake fans in our house, except for my daughter who loves them. This tuna pasta bake is her favourite so, as it freezes well, I usually make a big dish of it so it last her a few weeks. It’s a simple, quick recipe using ingredients you’ve probably already got in your store cupboard and fridge.

Serves: 5


460g dried penne pasta*

2 x 160g tins of tuna in spring water

30g butter

30g plain flour

200g mature or extra mature cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

500ml semi-skimmed milk

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

* Other small pasta shapes are fine too.

You’ll also need a baking dish. The one I use is approximately 23cm x 30cm  and 6cm deep.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C for fan ovens, 200 °C for conventional ovens or Gas Mark 6.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling water as per the packet instructions (typically 8-10 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, drain the tins of tuna and mash up with a fork.
  4. Start making the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Then stir in the plain flour while stirring continually until it forms a paste.
  5. Turn up the heat under the saucepan and gradually add the milk to the butter and flour mix, mixing all the time to minimise lumps.
  6. Bring the sauce to the boil, gently stirring all the time.
  7. When the sauce has thickened turn the heat down to medium again, add the mustard powder and cook for another minute, still stirring.
  8. Put 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese to one side.  Stir in the rest of the cheese to the sauce.
  9. Drain the pasta and put it in the baking dish.
  10. Add the mashed tuna and the cheese sauce to the baking dish and stir until all the ingredients are evenly mixed together.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top of the tuna, cheese sauce and pasta mix.
  12. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese starts to turn golden.
  13. Serve.