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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method

  • 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.

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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