Since my kid is not too keen on spinach, I am always looking for ways to hide it. I’ve shared our green eggs and ham (his favorite way to eat spinach) with you guys and now I’ve come across this tuna casserole. This recipe not only intrigued me because of the spinach, but also because it doesn’t call for a can of Cream of So-and-So Soup, which is rare with tuna casserole recipes. The spinach is added to a self-made creamy cheese sauce and was eaten without any complaints, which doesn’t happen often when there is spinach involved.
The one thing that bothers me about this recipe is the amount of dishes you have to wash in the end. Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable, but you will see, it is well worth it. I end up just washing all of the pots while the casserole is baking in the oven, so once dinner is done and eaten, all I have to wash is the casserole dish. I know what you’re thinking…why is this lady giving me a play-by-play of her dish washing routine? To be honest, I don’t know why, and I’m done now. 🙂
The great thing about this casserole is that we always have enough left-overs for another meal and it freezes really well. So, other than the dish-washing, it really is a favorite in our home, and your kids will get their spinach and tuna all in one. Doesn’t get much better than that!
Recipe adapted from Annabel Karmel
Cheesy Tuna Pasta Bake
- 10oz./300g fusilli pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup/120ml water
- 14oz./400g canned chopped tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon basil, dried
- ½ teaspoon oregano, dried
- 2 tablespoons parsley, fresh
- 12oz./360g (2 cans) tuna in water, drained and flaked
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1¼ cups/300ml milk
- 3oz./90g frozen or a few handfuls of fresh spinach, thawed, drained and chopped
- ¾ cup/100g shredded cheese, we used gouda, but cheddar works great as well plus a few handfuls of cheese for the topping
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/180℃.
- Boil the pasta just until al dente, drain and rinse off with cold water in order to keep it from over-cooking.
- Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large pot on medium heat. Add the garlic and ½ of the chopped onion and cook until soft. Add the bell pepper and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir the cornstarch into the ½ cup of water until dissolved, then add it along with the chopped tomatoes to the onions. Bring to a boil.
- Then add the herbs and cook gently for about 5 minutes.
- Mix in the flaked tuna, heat through and season to taste.
- While the tomato sauce is cooking, melt the other tablespoon of butter in a medium pot, add the rest of the onion and cook until soft.
- Add the flour and continue to stir until well-mixed. Take the pot off of the heat and slowly add the milk continuing to stir. Place pot back on heat and allow to simmer under continuous stirring until sauce is thickened and smooth.
- Add the chopped spinach and stir until heated through or wilted (if using fresh).
- Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese.
- Mix the pasta and tomato sauce together and place in a greased oven-proof dish.
- Top with the spinach cheese sauce and sprinkle with some more grated cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.