Sunday, 14 March 2010

Creamy Tuna and Tomato Pasta Bake or Pasta Con Tonno Al Forno

All kids are picky eaters!
Even Alex. He hates rice for starters, he will eat it but, still winge, moan and groan at every mouthful!
Rice aside, he eats everything I give him.

He learned early enough in his life that he has a mad mum who likes to experiment with food.
So he's resigned to the fact and eats what he's given.

Not that he enjoys everything I give him! Some things he loves to eat, and, the ones he doesn't, he will still eat them as his mum has convinced him that particular food will allow him to grow muscles overnight!!
Thankfully, he continues to the believe me, in spite of the obvious lack of over-sized muscles.

'That's because you're not eating enough fish and vegetables!' I tell him.
And so he perseveres in the hope he will wake up one morning with over-sized Popeye like muscles.

But yes, most kids are picky eaters.
I always panic whenever Italian kids come over for a meal, because believe you me, Italian kids, or at least the ones I know, can be very picky too.
They are different though, in the sense that whilst most kids I know would push the food they don't like aside on the plate, and eat the rest, Italian kids tend to look at the plate and scrutunise it carefully, before even considering lifting the fork. If it doesn't look right, they simply won't even taste it.

So the other day I had to cook for an Italian kid who doesn't like tuna, one who adores it and Alex, who doesn't mind it.
Now Tuna is very important in this case, as that was all I had in the cupboard.

Running the fear of sending at least one them back home starving hungry and having to justify my poor cooking skills to the worried mother, I decided to put my creative cap on.

Take some tomato sauce, add a bit of cream, a subtle hint of parmesan...The Italian kid devoured it and never for once suspected there was any tuna in it!

No exact amounts here as its such an easy recipe you just have to adjust to the amount of servings.
Pasta of your choice. I chose pasta shells as they can really hold the sauce
Homemade tomato sauce-simply fry some garlic and onion gently on a low heat, add your tomatoes, season and allow to simmer for 40 mins
Tuna (as many cans as required, depending on the portions)
Double cream
Freshly grated parmesan
small amount of sugar

Cook your pasta until 3 minutes before the finishing cooking time. Reserve a small amount of the pasta water aside.

Add your tuna to the tomato sauce, add your sugar. The sugar helps counterbalance the acidity of the tomatoes and saltiness of the tuna.
Add your parmesan cheese. Be fairly generous but very careful, you dont want the cheese to overpower the tuna. Add it bit by bit, keep tasting until it's to your taste.
Bring to a boil and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes.

Add your pasta to the sauce as well as the water.
Stir well and check for seasoning.
 Pour the pasta mix into a baking dish and add the cream until all the pasta has been covered.
Sprinkle with a generous amount of parmesan and bake in the oven until it's browned.
 Serve with a veg of your choice and enjoy!!


  1. Well, I may not eat "land meats" but I DO eat fish and my mouth is absolutely watering over this. I love it!! Goodness, I think I would be terrified to cook for an Italian child - I fear my self-esteem would be completely ruined!

  2. I would never had thought of this!~and will love it thanks for such a great idea!!!!!!~

  3. I agree that children are the hardest to cook for! You do need to be a Kitchen Magician and congratulations! You are!

  4. Awesome pasta bake with tuna & cheese, very yummy!

  5. Very creative Ruth and filled with taste. Italians always say, "the best Italian restaurant is at home" so of course the kids are picky! The meal is scrumptious and you passed the "italian kid test." Does life get any better?

  6. Looks awesome! I wonder how pasta tastes with tuna!

  7. Oooooh,....aaaaaah,...what a geogous & tasty looking pasta bake!

    I love this!!! Oooh,..yes!

  8. I love all these pasta dishes you are posting! This sounds delicious!

  9. thanks so much, everyone it is such a simple dish.

    Trix, I always am
    Erica, it is the land of pasta lol
    Sophie, thank you so much for popping by, what a great blog you have indeed!!

  10. You sure make good pasta dishes...

  11. Ruth, this is gorgeous pasta. It's also easy to do and that's a rare combination. Love it!

  12. oh wow your a star love tuna and pasta, your a fab mum, i learn from u!

  13. I am not a big tuna fan but this makes me want to eat tuna and pasta!

  14. I Love tuna, excited about trying dish and it was delish..Thank you

  15. Nothing is better than baked pasta. This recipe sounds delicious. I guess I would add some nice vegetables like corn. The tuna corn combination is very nice.