Thursday, September 30, 2010

Macaroni-Tuna Bake

This is something I bake for dinner, in many different forms, but all with the same basic recipe, when I'm really exhausted or lazy or just time-starved. I can safely say it's my own recipe, but I'm sure many others would have thought of the same thing at some point or the other. It's basically a baked mac 'n' cheese, but with a base of meat/fish/vegetable. It's delicious, satisfying, and combines carbohydrates with proteins-so you don't have to feel guilty about not cooking anything "substantial"!

For this version, I used a can of tuna that I had in my pantry (tuna flakes in spring water-forgot the brand).

      Serves 4
      Step 1:
  1. 200 g macaroni
  2. Water to cook
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Oil to sprinkle over
  • In a saucepan, bring water to boil, tip in the macaroni (with salt if needed) and cook till done.
  • Drain the water and sprinkle some olive oil on the macaroni to keep it from sticking.
     Step 2:
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons maida (refined flour)
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. Half to one teaspoon chilli flakes
  5. Half to one teaspoon each of dried oregano, chives, and parsley( or just dried mixed herbs)
  6. Pepper, to taste
  7. Salt, to taste (if using salted butter, then reduce the salt afterwards)
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and tip in the flour.
  • Stir vigorously until it turns a light brown.
  • Pour in the milk and stir again, making sure there are no lumps. Take off the heat, if necessary.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and check for taste.
  • Add more milk if necessary. The consistency should be thick, like that of a creamy soup.
     Step 3:
  1. 1 tin canned tuna (flakes or chunks, doesn't matter)
  • Open the can.
  • Tip over into a baking dish.
  • Mix the macaroni into this.
  • Pour the white sauce on top.
  • Mix everything really well.
  • Sprinkle grated cheese on top (the more, the better, obviously-but for health reasons, a little moderation won't hurt!)
  • Preheat your oven to 180 C.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top layer of cheese turns a golden brown.
  • Serve with tomato ketchup.
Vegetarians can just sauté diced mixed vegetables (potatoes, beans, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, capsicums, tomatoes, etc.) in olive oil, adding some garlic and onions to taste and do everything else as above.
You could also add blobs of tomato sauce or tomato chilli sauce in between before baking.

Footnote: A few weeks ago, I baked this with some leftover luncheon meat scramble (for recipe, click here). I used a plain white sauce for this, as the meat was already spiced. And of course, I topped it with cheese!