Tuna pasta (yes really…)

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Adapted from Baby-led Weaning Cookbook by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett

How to start this post without sounding a little bit crazy.  Ummmm.  Yes I am posting tuna pasta made from standard store cupboard ingredients.  Surely, you are all thinking, this is the sort of thing EVERYONE already knows how to make.  But I have a defence, and this is it.  I love tuna pasta for a multitude of reasons, but not in an eat it every day kind of way.  I love it for its practicality.  Today the child and I arrived home from our social whirl at 5pm exactly.  Our usual mealtime is 5:30pm, give or take, and she goes to bed around 7pm.  I needed to get a meal on the table in good time for her to eat it and digest it before I could expect her to be able to sleep.  Who sleeps well on a full stomach?  I could have faffed about with the fresh salmon I had in the fridge, but my heart wasn’t in it.  Tuna pasta takes 20 minutes and today some semblance of our routine has remained intact.  That is in itself a minor miracle.  Secondly, as long as you have the pasta, the tuna and something tomatoey you’re good to go.  The permutations are endless, and you can be as fancy, or not, as you like.  You can spend more and dress it up, or buy value ingredients and be frugal.   Add extra veg to the sauce, or a side salad, or garlic bread, or cheese.  You can make it your own!  Thirdly, there will be people out there who just won’t know how to do this, for whatever reason, or have just forgotten how versatile and relatively good for you it is.  Lastly, I’ve been making a version of this since I was a student (so that’s a whole long time!) and it’s still working for me.  This particular one since I started feeding solid food to my child two years ago, hence my link to where I adapted it from.  Fads come and go, but this endures.  And you can feed it to kids.  And you could feed it to mates who pop over unexpectedly.  And it will feed you when you’re just too tired to do anything else because chances are you will always have these things in your kitchen.  So I’m bigging up tuna pasta – it rocks.

Tuna Pasta

Prep time 5 minutes Cook time 15 minutes Makes 2 (adult) servings

  • 160g gluten-free pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion finely chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic crushed
  • 198g can tuna (I buy Reel Fish Co. steak in spring water)
  • 400ml carton passata (or tin of tomatoes, chopped or whole)
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs or herbes de provence
  • glug balsamic vinegar
  • dash sriracha sauce

Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions while you prepare the sauce.  I used spaghetti which is probably wrong for this sort of sauce, but we’re big spaghetti fans so throw out the rules!  Heat the oil in a large frying or saucepan over a medium-low heat.  Finely chop the onion and soften it in the oil for at least 5 minutes.  While this is softening crush the garlic and add to the onions, stirring around to stop any of it colouring.  Drain the tuna and add to pan, breaking it up so there are no large chunks left.  Pour in the passata (if you’re using whole canned tomatoes crush these a bit when you add to the pan).   Stir in the dried herbs and a glug of balsamic vinegar.  Simmer gently until the sauce is as thick as you like it.  By the time I’ve boiled the water for the pasta, cooked it and fiddled about draining it, my sauce has usually had a good 5 minutes simmering with all the ingredients in and that’s enough for me.  Add the drained pasta to your sauce and stir through.  At this point I dish up the child’s portion and add a splash of sriracha to mine because I like the chilli kick.  It is still lovely without it so I often don’t add it.  Serve with a salad, or any other extras, you have to hand.

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