Truly delicious, yet totally simple and easy tuna pasta bake!
Lately, my partner and I have been extremely busy and we have been eating out quite a lot. And you know how tiring eating out can be. I like to think about eating out as a “treat” but when it happens on a daily basis, it’s no longer a treat. So this week I’ve been trying to cook easy meals, with natural ingredients, that are quick but made from scratch at the same time. Oh and I’m also in this comfort food mode (who am I kidding, I’m always in a comfort food mode!) but seriously this dish is a life changer! I’ve been making and loving this comforting tuna pasta bake. My partner gave it 10/10 and we had it twice in the past week!
THE PERFECT PASTA BAKE
How can you master a pasta bake? A pasta bake is definitely one of the best comfort foods that we know, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be loaded with calories and fats. So I made a healthier and lighter version of the creamy tuna pasta bake.
So here are my tips for you to prepare that perfect baked pasta dish:
- Make sure that pasta is a bit undercooked. Yes, that’s correct, undercooked! To avoid mushy pasta, you must undercook it during the boiling phase. Remove the pasta from heat when it’s “al dente” or even a minute before that, as the pasta will be baked in the oven later so it will continue cooking in a hot boiling sauce!
- Choose the right type of pasta. I wouldn’t make this with noodles or thin flat shaped pasta as the sauce will slide off to the bottom of your baking dish, resulting in dried out pasta and a pool of sauce at the bottom. Go for penne, fusilli or farfalle.
- Achieve that lovely golden and crispy top! Make sure that broil your pasta and keep a close eye to it while it’s in there, as 3 minutes might be enough for that perfect golden crisp.
Because this is my midweek quick dinner recipe, I like to use tuna instead of adding meat or chicken. The tuna that I use is canned tuna in spring water (drained). I also add broccoli, cherry tomatoes and of course my homemade creamy white sauce. You can also add ricotta cheese if you like a creamier texture, but I usually omit the ricotta to cut down the calories.
I’m a huge fan of canned tuna, it’s so convenient and my always go-to food when I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. You should also try this Creamed Tuna on Toast by April Golightly.
Sauce must be creamy, rich and flavourful! It’s also very easy to make. You will need butter, flour, milk, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. And of course a sauce pan and a whisk! The sauce will be thick and creamy, and using the whisk you will be able to get rid of all the lumps. I believe that the key to a perfect tuna pasta bake is a rich thick sauce so make sure to watch the video below to learn how to master the sauce!
TIP: When you add the flour to the melted butter, don’t cook it for too long to avoid getting that floury taste in the sauce.
If you’ve been following my blog, you would know that we are huge fans of a2 Milk™ in our house. We were introduced to a2 Milk™ last year, and it made a huge difference in Natalia’s life. It does taste exactly the same as regular cow’s milk but it’s much easier to digest than regular cows milk, we love it in our house and that includes the children. What’s special about the a2 Milk™ is that it comes from special cows that product A2 protein only, while regular cows milk produce A1 and A2 protein.
Many people thought that they were lactose intolerant without being diagnosed with it, as they suffered from feeling a discomfort every time they consumed milk. They found that are just intolerant to A1 protein and are not lactose intolerant. A1 protein is more difficult to digest and can cause similar symptoms to lactose intolerance. According to the Sunday times, less than 5% of the British population is lactose intolerant. More common is an intolerance to the A1 beta-casein protein found in cow’s milk, which causes similar symptoms to lactose intolerance. So if you suffer from similar symptoms, then you definitely need to give a2 Milk™ a try and see how it works out for you!
When making this recipe, you might want to use a2 Milk™ butter instead of regular butter. For the recipe, visit a2 Milk™ website.
There are many wonderful recipes that you can make using a2 Milk™, give my Russian cinnamon buns a try! You will also fall in love with this Middle Eastern milk dessert called Muhalabieh that I shared on my blog this summer.
I also created a one minute step by step video, to show you how easy is this tuna pasta bake to make!
Tuna Pasta Bake
- 50 grams butter
- 50 grams all purpose flour
- 600 ml whole milk
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- a pinch of salt
- 500 grams penne pasta cooked
- 300 grams broccoli cooked
- 200 grams cherry tomatoes
- 1 tin of tuna in spring water drained and flaked
- 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 180c
- To make the sauce, melt the butter, mix in the flour to create a paste.
- Gradually stir in milk to create a thick creamy sauce.
- Add nutmeg, black pepper and salt, whisk and remove from heat.
- Grease a ceramic baking dish (mine is 26cm).
- Add and mix pasta with broccoli, cherry tomatoes, tuna and sauce.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top, and bake for 10 minutes. Broil for 2-4 minutes.
Disclaimer: a2 Milk™ is not suitable for cows’ milk protein allergy. If you have been medically diagnosed with any milk intolerance, seek advice from your doctor before use.
This is a commissioned post for a2 Milk™. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Little Sunny Kitchen happen. All opinions are my own.