Tuna and broccoli pasta bake

Raid your store cupboard to make this family favourite. It also saves time and money by finishing the pasta bake under the grill rather than preheating an oven.

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  • 200g/7oz dried short pasta shapes, such as fusilli or penne
  • 250g/9oz small frozen broccoli florets
  • 40g/1½oz butter
  • 40g/1½oz plain flour
  • 600ml/20fl oz semi-skimmed milk
  • 75g/2½oz mature cheddar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 x 185g tin tuna chunks in water or brine, drained
  • 2 firm, ripe tomatoes, sliced (optional)


  1. Half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil. Add the pasta, return the water to the boil and cook according to the packet instructions until just tender. Just before the end of the cooking time, add the frozen broccoli florets to the pan and cook with the pasta for the final 2-3 minutes, until just tender.

  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter, flour and milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture is just bubbling, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk until smooth and thickened to a roux.

  3. Continue to cook the roux for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in half of the cheese until melted, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Preheat the grill to its highest setting.

  5. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a large colander and transfer to a pre-warmed shallow ovenproof dish (a lasagne dish is ideal). Flake the tuna on top of the pasta and broccoli.

  6. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture, then top with the sliced tomatoes, if using. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

  7. Place the pasta bake under the hot grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese melts and starts to turn golden-brown. Serve immediately.

Recipe Tips

Tip 1: This dish is not suitable for freezing.
Tip 2: Warm the lasagne dish by half-filling it with just-boiled water and letting it stand for 5 minutes - it will help to keep the food keep warm as the crust grills.
Tip 3: Making the cheese sauce using an all-in-one method makes it quicker and more foolproof – but make sure you whisk it constantly to avoid lumps. A silicone-coated whisk will not damage non-stick pans.
Tip 4: Cheese is suitable for freezing, so it pays to buy it when it is on offer and freeze in batches. Coarsely grated frozen cheese can be used straight from the freezer.
Tip 5: If preferred, substitute frozen broccoli with frozen sweetcorn.
Tip 6: This recipe can also be made ahead - just cook the pasta bake in a preheated oven at 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7 for 18-20 minutes until heated through.
Tip 7: This recipe also saves money on energy - heating the grill for a few minutes is more energy-efficient than preheating the oven.

How-to videos

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How to make white sauce