Tuna pasta bake, delicious!

22 Jul

DSCI0184 Every now and again I try to invent a dish that my daughter in law will eat. She is a Pescatarian i.e. she will eat fish but no meat.  I know she loves pasta and I didn’t have a lot of time on my hands so I made this out of what I had in the fridge and cupboard at the time. She said it was really tasty so it seems it was a hit.

Pescetarianism (also spelled pescatarianism) is the practice of following a diet that includes fish or other seafood, but not the flesh of other animals.

One of the most commonly cited reasons is that of health, based on findings that red meat is detrimental to health in many cases due to non-lean red meats containing high amounts of saturated fats, choline and carnitine. Eating certain kinds of fish raises HDL levels, and some fish are a convenient source of omega-3 fatty acids, and have numerous health benefits in one food variety. A 1999 meta-analysis of five studies comparing vegetarian and non-vegetarian mortality rates in Western countries found that in comparison with regular meat-eaters, mortality from ischemic heart disease was 34% lower in pescetarians, 34% lower in ovo-lacto vegetarians, 26% lower in vegans and 20% lower in occasional meat-eaters.

Concerns have been raised about consuming some fish varieties containing toxins such as mercury and PCBs, though it is possible to select fish that contain little or no mercury and moderate the consumption of mercury-containing fish.

Similarly to vegetarianism, some pescetarians adopt the diet on the basis of ethics, either as a transition to vegetarianism, not treating fish on the same moral level as other animals, or as a compromise to obtain nutrients not found in plants as easily.

Well, here is the recipe.

Tuna Pasta Bake                                        Serves 4

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 good pinch hot chilli powder
  • 250g pasta shapes (I used Gellini)
  • 2 x 300g tins tuna in sunflower oil, drained
  • 2 tbsp basil leaves, torn
  • 1 oz butter
  • 1 oz plain flour
  • 1 pt milk
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp English mustard (ready-made)
  • small handful grated parmesan
  1. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil then cook the pasta as per packet instructions.  Drain, reserving 200 ml of the pasta cooking liquid.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion and green pepper over a low to medium heat for 10 minutes until soft but not coloured.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, season and add the chilli powder. Simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Add the drained pasta and tuna, breaking the latter into large chunks.  Stir carefully so as not to break down the tuna too much.  Add a little of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce.
  5. Add the basil, mix gently then transfer all to an oven to table dish.
  6. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add the milk and whisk until the sauce is smooth.  Cook over a medium heat until the sauce thickens, stirring continuously.  Season lightly and add 3/4 of the cheddar cheese and the mustard.
  7. Pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle the remaining cheddar and Parmesan over the top.
  8. This can be frozen at this stage.  Thaw completely before reheating.
  9. When ready to eat, heat an oven to 180C/170C fan/gas 5.  Bake the pasta dish for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and golden on top and the pasta is heated through.

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