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Tuna and vegetable pasta bake

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Tuna and vegetable pasta bake
Tuna, pasta, fresh vegetables and olives baked with tomato sauce and cheese sauce until golden. This recipe is a little time-consuming to prepare, but you'll find the end result makes it all worthwhile. Delicious served with a fresh salad.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion—chopped
1 red pepper (capsicum)—julienned
2 cloves garlic—finely chopped
1 zucchini (courgette)—sliced into ¼-inch rounds
14 oz (420g) canned tomatoes—chopped
½ cup white wine
6 oz (180g) canned light-meat tuna in olive oil—drained and broken into chunks
8 pitted black olives—sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 oz (240g) pasta (fusilli is perfect, or use penne, shells or farfalle)
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour)
½ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
½ teaspoon salt


PREHEAT the oven to 200°C/400°F. HEAT the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the onion and red pepper for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. ADD the garlic and zucchini and cook for another 2 minutes. ADD the tomatoes, wine, tuna, olives, basil, salt and pepper, bring to the boil then cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. WHILE the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta and prepare the cheese sauce. HEAT 1¾ cups of the milk in a saucepan over a medium-high heat until almost boiling. MIX together the remaining ¼ cup of milk with the cornstarch until well combined. STIR the cornstarch mixture into the hot milk and continue stirring until thick and creamy. STIR in the grated cheeses and salt until well combined. DRAIN the cooked pasta into a colander, and put the tomato-tuna sauce in the bottom of the pot. TOP with the hot pasta and toss together to combine well. SPREAD half the pasta mixture in the bottom of a lightly oiled baking dish and spoon half the cheese sauce evenly on top. SPREAD the remaining pasta evenly over the sauce, then spoon the rest of the cheese sauce over to cover. BAKE for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Variations: Many other combinations of ingredients can be used. For instance, try other vegetables such as asparagus spears or broccoli florets; use fresh parsley instead of basil; add chopped capers or sun-dried tomatoes instead of olives; and replace the canned tuna with canned beans or red salmon.



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