Sure. A tuna and pasta bake is something your mum makes, or something you get at the canteen when you’re at uni, or something you make in Home Ec at high school. Well it was… until today.
I just made one and I realised that it’s the kind of thing you can sit back on a cold day (Which today is. Surprisingly. PS. That is sarcasm right there. Maybe god thinks I fear change. Well I don’t. I would be cool with a patch or two of warm weather here and there) and eat a truckload of. Just keep it coming. Like soup, or a stew, or cassoulet, or… you get it huh?
I think one of the best things about this is it doesn’t even need a harmonious combination of vegetables. Just put in what you have. It’s like eating a garage sale for dinner. Sure you need your constants; the books, clothes and the rusty old wood saw. But then you just chuck the other shite in. Abracadabra. Dinner.
A friend of mine named Kel (it’s pretty good that I keep coming up with original names for my “friends”. Except that Jess thing. That was an accident) made tuna bake not so long ago and she said it was pretty average. Well maybe she said it was awful. Actually, she may have said it was nice and I decided it sounded average. We’ll never know…
Well it’s an easy thing to make, and it has all of the elements that make something taste good; béchamel sauce, cheese, breadcrumbs and enough time in the oven to make it bubble and splutter like a gloriously tasty pan sized volcano (Or even a fat kid in the egg and spoon race at the school fete, eating the egg and spoon… too far?).
Tuna and pasta in the cupboard? Check. Random vegetables in the drawer at the bottom of the fridge I like to call “the place veges go to die”? Check. You have the supplies and ability to make a béchamel? Of course you do. That’s a white sauce fool… surely they taught you about that in Home Ec? OK we can do this…
Be ready when I say go…
GOOOO. Actually, I was trying to make that look like I was screaming go. But it looks to be spelling goo to me. I’ll try again…
TUNA AND PASTA BAKE
1 large or 2 small tins tuna
1.5 cups pasta, cooked (ask me how. I dare you)
1 tin crushed tomatoes
2 cups chopped things from the vege drawer (I had zucchini, mushroom, capsicum and chilli), sweated off for a couple of minutes
A splash of white wine if you have some. But only if you have some. This is not the kind of meal you go out and shop for. Your girlfriend is something you go out and shop for. Never “with” though. Don’t fall into that trap…
Béchamel sauce (recipe follows)
1 cup breadcrumbs
• Prepare yourself for how stupidly simple this is going to be
• Bake in a pre-heated oven, 180C, 20 minutes or until the top is brown and it’s bubbling and spluttering around the sides
• If you want to go crazy top it with a bit of fresh parmesan, balsamic and your best garage sale olive oil
The ratio for a béchamel sauce is basically 1:1:10 or there abouts.1 part butter, 1 part flour, 10 parts liquid. A little less liquid if you want it to be thicker. Common sense right? Wrong. One thing life has taught me is common sense is not that bloody common. It should be a compulsory subject in high school.
2 Tbls butter
2 Tbls plain flour
• Mix flour and butter over a med heat
• Once its cooked out for a minute or two, add the milk slowly, whisking as you go
• Keep whisking intermittently for 5-6 minutes as the flour cooks out and the sauce thickens
PS. If you are vegetarian, leave the tuna out.
If you are vegan, leave the tuna out, use vegan pasta and nutlex and soy milk for the béchamel. And leave the cheese out, too.
If you are coeliac use GF pasta, rice flour in the béchamel and make breadcrumbs out of GF bread.
If you are a hippy sprinkle with sunflower seeds and pepitas, and serve with organic sprouts.