Tuesday 4 May 2010

Remember that lovely sunny weather I mentioned in my last couple posts? Guess what! It's changed... again!! Its been - 8 and heavy, heavy snow. In May!

Aditi enjoyed it and she made a snowman and had fun making snow angels... but not moi. I detest cold wet snow, even if its pretty :-)

So as a direct result of the weather, I decided against the salad and opted for a one pot comforting tuna casserole instead. Its hard getting fish into Aditi, as she just does not like it. So I need to disguise it and this casserole works very well, as its creamy and has pasta and vegetables and crispy stuff in it, which masks the sometimes overpowering taste of tinned tuna. Fresh tuna would be great for this dish, but the whole point is that its quick and easy to make, ergo, tinned fish.

Its a really easy, one pot meal, and you can vary it according to what you have in the fridge or pantry. The original recipe asks for penne or rigatoni, but I've found it works well with fusilli, macaroni or even egg noodles. Same with the vegetables. I have used olives, tomatoes and marinated artichokes for a more mediterranean feel and always use the veggies that need using up. So feel free to play around with the recipe and come up with the one that suits you best. I had left over peppers and carrots from the famer's market that needed to be used up, which is what I did in this recipe.

I use my Le Creuset to make this dish, but you can cook the dish in a different pot and assemble in a baking dish if you like. I also use cheddar, but again, any melty cheese will work. The cornflakes add a crisp top, but this will work with a mixture of breadcrumbs and grated cheese as well.

Here's the recipe to serve 4 (or one and and a second greedy pig!):

2 tins tuna in water (if you're using fresh, poach in a little veg or fish stock till cooked through, and then flake; but the point of this recipe is 'easy!')
2 tbsp or so of olive oil
About 250 ml frozen peas
1 or 2 carrots, diced
1 red or yellow pepper, diced
2 cans mushroom soup, or around 350 - 400 ml (use low fat, for, well, a low fat meal!)
Salt and pepper to taste
About 150 g cheddar or swiss cheese, grated (you can use less, if you wish) [reserve some for topping]
About 2 cups cooked al-dente pasta
1/4 cup plain crumbled cornflakes
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

In a pan, over a medium heat, heat the olive oil and toss in the diced peppers and carrot. Saute for about 3 or 4 minutes, then put in the peas. Stir for another minute. Then pour in the mushroom soup, and season with pepper to taste. Heat the mixture, stirring ocasionally until the soup thickens. Then take it off the heat, and add the cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted completely. Taste and add salt if you think it needs it. Then stir in the tuna and pasta, and mix well.

If you are using a LeC, cover with the lid and pop into the oven at 200 C for 25 minutes. Otherwise, pour into a baking dish, cover and do the same. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the reserved grated cheese, cornflakes and breadcrumbs. Season with a little pepper.

Take the casserole out of the oven, and sprinkle the topping over it. Return to the oven for another 5 - 10 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown and crisp.



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