Nanna’s Tuna Pasta Bake

A household favourite and one of the few things I can make almost as well as my mother in law Rita, who is a legend in the kitchen. I tend to bake mine in the oven whereas she pops hers under the grill. Mainly because I do mine in advance for reheating later. But either way is good. If your going to do it in the oven, then preheat at 180C. Cook for about 25 – 30 minutes until pasta is crunchy on top. You can also sprinkle with grated mozzarella to make it even more yummy. I would say in a normal house it feeds 5. But in my second portion pasta lovers home the three of us have been known to clear the entire dish in 1 sitting. In our defence, we don’t have side dishes with it.


  • 400g Spaghetti
  • 100g mozzarella in a block (you can use grated)
  • half a cup of dry white wine
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • hand full of fresh basil & oregano, chopped
  • 300g tinned tuna, drained
  • 200ml béchamel sauce (bought or homemade)
  • Olive oil & butter
  • Salt & pepper
  • Grated mozzarella, optional topping


  • Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions. (Important!!!! If you are going to bake rather than grill, cook for half the time allocated or the pasta will become mushy.)
  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions.
  • Add in the tinned tomatoes & basil continuing to cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • Now add the wine, turning up the heat to evaporate the alcohol for a 2-3 minutes. Then set aside.
  • Chop the mozzarella into small cubes. Drain the tuna. Add both to the sauce mixing well.
  • Add the béchamel to the tuna tomato sauce, before combining with your drained pasta. Give it a good mix to ensure it is well combined and coated.
  • Taking a lightly greased oven dish, pour in your pasta mixture. Dot with knobs of butter and sprinkle with fresh oregano. You can also use grated cheese or even panko.
  • Heat under a grill for a few minutes until the tips of the pasta are crispy, or the cheese is melted if you are using cheese.
  • If you are opting to bake in the oven. Then I would suggest, topping the bake about 10 minutes before the end with the grated cheese so that it doesn’t over cook.
Little bits of crispy pasta at the top are the bits you’ll be fighting over!

On occasion I will throw in some frozen pea’s, use red wine instead of white, maybe some crushed garlic at the sauté stage. I always have frozen grated mozzarella so this is substituted for the block regularly. We eat it on its own. But you can serve it with garlic bread or salad.

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