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.
460g dried penne pasta*
2 x 160g tins of tuna in spring water
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.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C for fan ovens, 200 °C for conventional ovens or Gas Mark 6.
- Cook the pasta in boiling water as per the packet instructions (typically 8-10 minutes).
- Meanwhile, drain the tins of tuna and mash up with a fork.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bring the sauce to the boil, gently stirring all the time.
- When the sauce has thickened turn the heat down to medium again, add the mustard powder and cook for another minute, still stirring.
- Put 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese to one side. Stir in the rest of the cheese to the sauce.
- Drain the pasta and put it in the baking dish.
- Add the mashed tuna and the cheese sauce to the baking dish and stir until all the ingredients are evenly mixed together.
- Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top of the tuna, cheese sauce and pasta mix.
- Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese starts to turn golden.