Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Grown up pasta bake.

One of my favourite evening meals when I was a child was tuna pasta bake. The combination of pasta, bacon, sweetcorn and tuna in a creamy sauce, topped with cheese and baked in the oven until all the cheese was melted was a comforting and hearty dinner, which always went well with me. I haven't had tuna pasta bake for a few years, I suppose I have been busy trying new recipes, ingredients and flavours which is great, but sometimes it's good to have a nostalgic trip down memory lane. I always remembered when I ate tuna pasta bake the taste of tuna was mild as though you couldn't taste it, I now think it was because with the other competing flavours it got a bit lost, but is a fab way of introducing fish to children.
My grown up version of this classic, mussels replaces tuna, mushrooms are added alongside sweetcorn and garden peas but the bacon remains the same. I cheated and used a Colmans white sauce packet instead of doing the proper cook thing and making my own bechamel sauce, and to be honest that how it was always made for me. I topped the pasta bake with extra mature cheddar cheese which further enhanced and added another dimension to the pasta bake. I had this on the table under 40 minutes so is perfect for a mid-week meal. I really liked the mussels in the pasta dish, they were the "meaty" part of the dish, mild in flavour and complimented the remaining ingredients and I would definitely make this grown-up version again.
Here is how my grown up pasta bake turned out:

Grown up pasta bake.

Grown up pasta bake.

Grown up pasta bake.
Ingredients- serves 2, easily doubled

200g farfalle pasta
1 tin of 325g sweetcorn
500g mushrooms
3 handfulls of frozen peas, or use half a tin of garden peas
4 rashers of cooked smoked bacon (I used cooked bacon pieces)
Cooked mussels (available from Asda)
1 packet of Colemans Tuna Pasta Bake Sauce.
2 cloves of garlic
2tbsp vegetable oil to saute the mushrooms
50g extra mature cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
Italian herb seasoning

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Cook the farfalle pasta in boiling water for between 10-12 minutes. Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat 2tbsp vegetable oil and saute the mushrooms for around 7 minutes, then add the cloves of garlic, garden peas, sweetcorn and seasoning.  Make the tuna pasta bake sauce, according the packet instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, use a fairly large oven proof dish, add the pasta, mushrooms, garden peas, sweetcorn, alongside the cooked mussels and bacon pieces. Pour the tuna pasta bake sauce mix and carefully, using a wooden soon ensure all the mixture is coated with the sauce mix. Top with the grated cheddar cheese and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden in colour. Serve with a side salad.




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