Tuna pasta bake


To get back to my original concept of comparing lifestyle and in particular, food and eating/shopping habits between the UK and France, I have to talk about ‘Ready meals’ (les plats prepare).

While you can buy frozen pizza and a very modest range of other ready prepared (mainly frozen) meals, notably from the excellent frozen food chain, ‘Picard’ (Do not think ‘Iceland’!), these are mainly restricted to frozen lasagne, cannelloni and such like, and I have yet to discover these items in any ‘chilled cabinet’ in the supermarkets – except for Marks and Spencer in Paris! And like ‘take-aways’, ready meals are a little ‘thin on the ground’……..

In the UK however, the aisles are packed with ready meals offering a plethora of choices. It is possible to eat in a different country every evening without leaving home – and without actually doing any cooking……………..

Walk down any supermarket’s aisles and you will be able to choose from Thai, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, as well as ‘typically’ English meals such as Cauliflower Cheese, Toad in the hole, Vegetable Bake etc. In fact ‘bakes’ in some incarnation or other make up a large proportion of these meals, and pasta bakes are some of the most popular.

Chilled ready meals in Asda supermarket , England , Britain , UK3585323-large[1]

I mentioned in my post for ‘Salmon Pesto Bake’ that the French don’t do bakes, and in fact when I showed the above photo to some of my students who are following ‘A Taste of Two Cities’ they couldn’t quite grasp the concept of what it was, asking was it a ‘gratin’ thinking this was a side dish rather than a main course and found the inclusion of pasta and tuna a little strange. I have assured them that it is delicious and that they should try it – on verra………..


Ingredients Serves two generously

160g can of tuna (I prefer to use tuna in oil as it preserves more vitamins than water)

A can of chopped tomatoes – plus half a can of water

100g of pasta (I used ‘conchiglie’ – shells)

1 Small red onion roughly chopped

1 large clove garlic very finely chopped

½ a small green chilli finely chopped

1 red pepper roughly diced

1 green pepper roughly diced

A handful of black olives

A heaped teaspoon of capers

Dried oregano – to taste

Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

A small ball of Buffalo Mozzarella roughly broken up

A good glug of olive oil



Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof dish (a lasagne dish or similar)

Roast the onion and peppers for 20 minutes or until starting to brown

Add the garlic and chilli and roast for a further 3 or 4 minutes

Meanwhile cook the pasta until just al dente (take care not to overcook)

Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the tomatoes and the tuna and the water

Add the black olives and capers

Season with oregano, salt and pepper

Drain the pasta and mix with tomato and tuna mixture until well coated

Top with mozzarella and bake in a pre-heated oven at   degrees/gas mark     for 20 minutes or until heated through and the mozzarella is golden.

Serve with a fresh green salad and, if you really feel indulgent, some hot crusty baguette and a nice bottle of light red wine such as a Val de Loire………..

Bon apetit tout le monde!






5 thoughts on “Tuna pasta bake

  1. Catalina A. says:

    It’s the same in Germany, plenty of frozen food and ready meals to choose from. When I first stepped in a supermarket here I spent 10 minutes at the canned soups aisle just going over the labels from across the world with pure amazement. The frozen pizza seems to be the number one choice for dinner, sometimes topped with tiny burgers. 🙂

    • lindaravello says:

      Ha ha ha, where in Germany are you Catalina? I was in Berlin last summer and all I could find in the supermarket was aisles of sausage, most people there were eating ‘curry worst’ for lunch, which I would have liked, but they smother it with ketchup as well as curry – you’ll have to cross the border to France to get some real food.

      • Catalina A. says:

        I am living in Hannover, in the Northern part of Germany. Speaking of wurst, actually ‘curry wurst’ was the first thing I ate when I got here last summer. It is a very strong, spicy snack as it is and yes, some add ketchup as well. Curry (as a sauce) is quite popular, it is used as a topping or flavor in frozen, packed or fast food. As for the wurst, everyone knows already how loved that is here 🙂
        As loved as the pastry products, which you also probably noticed are everywhere. The food tends to be quite ‘heavy’ in a way that most dishes from Central and Eastern Europe are. France is a different league 🙂

  2. lindaravello says:

    Ah yes, in France the pastry is just the vehicle to deliver the topping, and is deliciously light and crisp and just underneath, not encasing everything. Like you, I was astonished at the amount of pizza being eaten also – some very good stone baked pizza I must add, but not quite what I’d envisaged. Where are you from originally? I made a lovely chicken with tarragon dish on Friday, that I am going to try to post later in the week, if I get time – you might like it

    • Catalina A. says:

      The chicken with tarragon dish sounds very nice. I always have tarragon preserved in vinegar in my kitchen, my mom is to blame for that. I assume you’ve used fresh one.
      I am originally from Romania, moved to Germany last year and who knows what’s next…
      I will keep an eye on your blog for that chicken 🙂

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