Cheesy and creamy tuna pasta bake with sweetcorn and white sauce made from scratch, this easy noodle casserole will make your children happy.
An easy pasta casserole is something you often chose to cook when you have children. Casserole dishes, like this creamy tuna pasta bake, with rice or potatoes are filling, easy to make, cheap most of the time, and probably due to the carbs and cheese they contain, you can never go wrong with them when it comes to children.
I think I have rarely managed to make a casserole they didn’t LOVE. Even those casseroles containing cauliflower or broccoli are more or less fine for my children, as long as they have enough cheese in them…
It is the same with this tuna pasta bake. Tuna is not an ingredient of choice when it comes to my children, but packed into this creamy and cheesy noodle casserole, the tuna loses its “impudence”, becomes a desirable ingredient that imparts flavor and creaminess into the dish.
But don’t think that this noodle casserole is just something for the children, you will probably end up eating more than you should yourself as well. And scratch the bottom of the dish to make sure you get every last bit of those delicious noodles or corn kernels surrounded by that creamy cheese sauce.
What do you need?
Very common and very cheap ingredients like tuna, noodles and corn, all things you might probably have in your pantry already. Staple ingredients, so to say, you might not even have to go shopping in order to cook this recipe.
And the best thing about it is that you will be making this from scratch.
- I used macaroni, because I had about half a packet in my cupboard. But any kind of shorter noodles like fusili or penne would be fine.
- A red bell pepper, 2 garlic cloves, and 2 or 3 small tomatoes are the only fresh ingredients you will need for this recipe.
- Otherwise, just a can of corn, about 250 g/ 8.8 oz corn kernels once you have drained the can. A little more or less than that would be fine, corn cans come in different sizes according to where you live in the world, so don’t stress if you have a little more or less corn than I did.
- You can also replace the canned corn with frozen corn.
- The same about the tuna.
- I used a rather large can and I had 150 g/ 5.3 oz tuna once I drained the can.
- If I only have the smaller tuna cans, then I use two of them, and then I will have about 220 g/ 7.7 oz drained tuna.
- Do use what is available.
- Dried oregano, but a dried Italian or French herb mixture would be fine.
- And you can never go wrong with a bit of chili, use as much as you like.
- I used Gouda cheese because Gouda is the most common type of cheese around here, I always have it in my fridge.
- But you could definitely replace it with cheddar or another kind of cheese you like to use when making a cheesy casserole.
- I recommend panko breadcrumbs, they make the top of the tuna pasta bake crunchier.
- However, if you don’t have them, replace them with regular breadcrumbs. And here is how to make homemade breadcrumbs, if you are interested.
White sauce ingredients:
- Butter, flour, and milk. With a sprinkle of nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
The recipe step by step
- Boil the noodles according to the packet’s instructions. Drain well.
- Cook the chopped red bell pepper, garlic cloves, and drained corn in a little oil.
- When the vegetables are softer and the corn starts to look a little bit charred, add the drained and flaked tuna and the spices.
- Stir well and let get hot for about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the flour on top, stir and let it become slightly golden about 1 minute.
- Slowly, start adding the milk while whisking continuously to avoid the formation of clumps. Bring to a boil and let the sauce simmer for about 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
- Add the grated cheese needed for the sauce and stir it well until it is melted. Season the white sauce generously with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Butter a medium casserole dish, either oval, round, square or rectangular is fine. Mine was about 18×23 cm/7×9 inches.
- Return the pasta to its cooking pot. Add the vegetable and tuna mixture, white sauce, and mix carefully. Fill the baking dish.
- Cover with the sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with a mixture of breadcrumbs and cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until the top of the tuna pasta casserole is golden.
- Leave to rest for about 5 minutes, then serve with a green salad.
More pasta bakes
Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake (with Sweetcorn)
- Tuna bake:
- 200 g/ 7 oz macaroni or penne, fusili, farfalle etc
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 can corn about 250 g/ 8.8 oz once drained (Note 1)
- 1 can tuna about 150 g/ 5.3 oz tuna once drained
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano Note 2
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes more or less to taste
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- White sauce:
- 2 ½ tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 400 ml/ 13.5 fl.oz/ 1 ¾ cups milk
- 50 g/ 1.8 oz/ ½ cup grated cheese Note 3
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- 2-3 small tomatoes depending on size
- 4 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs
- 50 g/ 1.8 oz/ ½ cup grated cheese Note 3
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a medium casserole dish, either oval, round, square or rectangular is fine. Mine was about 18×23 cm/7×9 inches.
Tuna pasta bake:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt generously, and cook the pasta according to the packet’s instructions. Drain well.
- In the meantime, cut the red bell pepper into thin small strips and chop the garlic cloves. Drain the can of corn.
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Cook the red bell pepper, garlic, and corn for about 5 minutes or until the peppers are softer and the corn starts to look a little bit charred.
- Add the drained and flaked tuna and the spices. Stir well and let get hot for about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the flour on top, stir and let it become slightly golden about 1 minute. Slowly, start adding the milk while whisking continuously. Bring to a boil and let the sauce simmer for about 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
- Add the grated cheese and stir well until it is melted. Season generously with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Place the drained pasta back into the pot you used to cook them. Add the vegetable and tuna mixture, mix carefully, and pour the white sauce on top. Mix again. Place into the prepared baking dish.
- Slice the tomatoes thinly. Arrange them on top of the bake. Mix together the breadcrumbs and the grated cheese. Sprinkle over the tomatoes.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes, then serve with a green salad.
- Frozen and defrosted corn kernels can be used instead.
- Or an Italian or French dried herb mixture.
- Gouda, cheddar or another good melting cheese that you like.
Friday 8th of March 2019
So simple yet so nourishing and delicious!
Thursday 7th of March 2019
What a beautiful tuna casserole Adina. No wonder your kids love it. I like that there are fresh ingredients and canned, so it's not too much chopping and cooking etc. Looks fast and easy and I love that it uses all real ingredients. What a great recipe using just a few staples. Wishing you a beautiful day, still freezing cold around here! XO
Wednesday 6th of March 2019
Great recipe! Very easy to follow, easy to make.