This is definitely one that is in the kids’ dinner category: even though any adults around will no doubt eat it if making it for kids (I do!), its not something you’d make for a grown up night. But its perfect for hungry little mouths – most kids love pasta, cheese and tuna. This is one of those hybrid dishes I came up with when I was torn between making macaroni and cheese, and a tuna mornay. The broccoli is just for some extra goodness – it can be substituted with whatever vegetable your offspring will tolerate. Spinach would be perfect in this also. The crunchy breadcrumb topping makes it irresistable to all.
You will need a large frypan that is ovenproof. If you don’t have one, you can use a flameproof baking dish.
Serves approx 4 adults / 6 kids’ serves
1 small leek, finely sliced
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
1 cup steamed broccoli florets, finely chopped
1 x 185 g tin tuna
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup small uncooked pasta (such as shells, elbows)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup plain flour
450 ml milk
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Get all your ingredients ready – grate the cheese, slice the leeks and celery, open the tuna and drain, and steam the broccoli (or other veg) and chop finely.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and when its boiling, toss in the pasta.
While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, heat the oil and butter in the frypan and add the leaks. Saute until soft and turning golden, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the celery and saute until soft, about another 5 minutes.
Add the flour and stir through the mixture until absorbed. Reduce the heat to low, and start adding the milk, stirring quickly so it absorbs well. Keep stirring and adding the milk until its all absorbed and you have a thick sauce.
By this time the pasta should be cooked. When its al dente, drain and set aside.
Stir the tasty cheese, broccoli, tuna and some salt and pepper into the sauce and mix through. Stir in the pasta. Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese.
In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the olive oil using your hands until all the oil is evenly mixed through. Spread the breadcrumbs over the pan.
Turn on your grill, place the frypan under and grill until the breadcrumbs are golden.