This is a brilliant store cupboard standby and if you don’t have a green pepper use a red or yellow one or replace with a courgette or even an onion works well. Grilled peppers in a jar are also worth considering. If you want to make vegetarian leave out the tuna and add in any vegetables you have to hand. Frozen spinach would be delicious, as would a handful of grated Cheddar cheese.
|Salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|1 tbsp snipped fresh chives (optional)|
|1 Small tin sweetcorn (or use 150g frozen)|
|130g Tin tuna (in spring water or brine)|
|1 Green pepper|
|2 tsp Dijon mustard or tomato puree|
|25g Plain flour|
|150g Penne pasta (wholewheat or regular)|
Cook the penne in a pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt for 10-12 minutes or until tender (or according to packet instructions).
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over a medium to low heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon to make a smooth glossy paste (which is called a roux). Remove from the heat and gradually pour in the milk, whisk with a balloon whisk until smooth after each addition. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then stir in the mustard or tomato puree until evenly combined. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth and thickened.
Cut the green pepper in half and remove the core and seeds, then using a small sharp knife cut into dice. Drain the tuna and sweetcorn (if using a tin and fold into the sauce with the diced green pepper. Cook for a few minutes until piping hot, stirring occasionally.
Drain the pasta into the sink in a colander, then return to the pan and fold in the tuna and vegetable sauce with the chives, if using. Divide among wide rimmed bowls to serve.
This tuna and vegetable sauce could be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Alternatively you could cook the pasta for a little less time so it still has some bite and put into a suitable ovenproof dish. Bake for about 30 minutes from fridge cold at 180C / 350F / gas mark 4 and cover with tin foil if you think that the top is browning too quickly. It would also be frozen for up to 1 month and defrosted thoroughly before baking, as could the sauce on its own.