Strong and Staple

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Tuna Pasta Bake: political junkie Edward Knighton shares his election night special

In a rather bleak week in election season, here are some comforting carbs to fuel that long night in front of the TV waiting for the next high profile victim of the democratic process. A dish that can be re-hashed and re-heated as often as Downing Street statistics.

Tuna pasta bake thrives on colour, crunch and an unctuous sauce. So I have added celery and red pepper to the standard sweetcorn infused recipe. A vote winner with all ages.

Serves 4


  • 600g rigatoni
  • 2 sticks celery, washed thoroughly and sliced horizontally
  • A medium sized onion, chopped fine
  • One clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 red peppers, chopped fine
  • 300g frozen sweetcorn
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml milk
  • 250g strong cheddar
  • 2 x 160g cans tuna steak – invest in a good quality brand
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The choice of tuna is important if you are to lift this dish above the level of every day – I recommend Charles Basset’s Thon Blanc in olive oil.


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Boil the pasta until al dente
  2. Fry the onion and garlic on a medium heat until soft but without burning and add the chopped red pepper
  3. To make a cheesy roux, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Don’t be afraid to cook the flour/butter mix for a minute but equally well don’t let it burn. Gradually stir in the milk to make a thick white sauce and work hard to remove all lumps. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the cheese vigorously until a smooth sauce is obtained
  4. Drain the pasta, mix with the white sauce, tuna, frozen sweetcorn and fried vegetables, then season. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake for 15-20 mins until the cheese on top is golden and starting to brown.  Serve immediately