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Tuna Mornay (Tuna Casserole Pasta Bake)

35 mins Cook
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NomNom Recipes 16

Tuna Mornay is how you can turn canned tuna into a bland staple or worse, a hopeless meal straight from the can! It’s a tuna pasta casserole with a creamy sauce, sweet corn on the cob and a crispy filling, cooked until golden and bubbly.

Easy to make, economical and delicious!

NomNom Recipes 17
Tuna Mornay (Tuna Casserole Pasta Bake) – NomNomWow

Tuna Mornay

I moved out right after high school when I was 18, so you won’t be surprised I’ve eaten all kinds of utterly nasty canned tuna. Pour over rice, pasta, toast (with melted cheese!) and, even worse, eat it straight from the can.

With a dizzying array of flavors to choose from these days – chilli, lemon pepper, portuguese – which flavor is most palatable.

Not at the time.
I am very happy to still have development. Canned tuna can be used in many delicious ways – this Mornay Tuna Pasta Bowl tops the list!

What is Tuna Mornay?

Tuna Mornay is the Aussie name for a tuna casserole pasta bake made with canned tuna and pasta in a creamy white sauce. There’s various forms of add ins – often corn, sometimes peas – and it’s topped with something crunchy. A parmesan breadcrumb topping is my favourite, but there are versions “out there” with crushed cornflakes, crispy fried onions and even potato crisps. (Yes, really, google it)

What you need for Tuna Casserole

Here’s what you need:

  • Vegeta stock powder / granulated bouillon / seasoning (same thing!!) is the secret ingredient here that makes the white sauce extra tasty. It’s salt – with flavour. I like using Vegeta, which is a Vegetable stock powder (herbs & spices aisle of everyday grocery stores!). Read more here about Vegeta here (including MSG misconceptions & what else to use it for!)
  • Tuna – tuna in oil is tastier (full stop!) but spring water or brine is fine too; and
  • Corn (and other veggies) – peas and corn can be added uncooked and even frozen straight into the dish. For things like diced carrots (frozen or fresh), I’d recommend cooking them first as they won’t cook in the bake time for this recipe. I just use corn – because it’s the classic add in.

How to make it

The nice thing about Tuna Mornay is that it’s made with everyday  pantry staples and it’s pretty quick to make:

  • Melt butter, mix in flour, then whisk in milk – the flour will make the sauce thick and creamy;
  • Add in parmesan and other sauce flavourings (including our secret ingredient, Vegeta);
  • Flake the tuna into large-dish chunks so it doesn’t turn into mush when you mix it through, then mix it all up together;
  • Tip into a baking dish, top with crunchy Panko-parmesan topping and bake until it’s golden on top and bubbling on the edges!

Here’s what’s under the crisp golden topping that’s up close and personal. I love this creamy sauce!

What to serve with Tuna Mornay

Unless you’re adding more veggies to it (may need 2 more cups, you can add pasta for more veggies) I’d recommend adding some veggies or a crunchy salad on the side – just to finish the meal ! Here are some suggestions:

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Tuna Mornay (Tuna Casserole Pasta Bake)

Tuna Mornay (Tuna Casserole Pasta Bake)

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Tuna Mornay is how you can turn canned tuna into a bland staple or worse, a hopeless meal straight from the can! It's a tuna pasta casserole with a creamy sauce, sweet corn on the cob and a crispy filling, cooked until golden and bubbly.
prep time
10 Mins
cooking time
35 mins
servings
6
total time
45 Mins

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 350g / 12oz penne pasta (or other short pasta)

  • 40g / 3 tbsp butter

  • 3 garlic cloves , finely minced

  • 4 tbsp (50g) flour , plain/all purpose

  • 4 cups (1 litre) milk , any fat %, dairy or non dairy (1 quart)

  • 2 tsp Vegeta, or chicken or veg stock powder/granulated bouillon (Note 1)

  • 1/2 cup (50g) parmesan , finely shredded

  • 1/2 tsp each mustard powder, onion and garlic powder (Note 2)

  • 425g / 15 oz canned tuna , preferably in oil, drained (sub salmon)

  • 400g / 14 oz canned corn , drained (or other veg, Note 3)

  • CRUNCHY TOPPING:

  • 25g / 1.5 tbsp butter , melted

  • 1/2 cup (60g) panko breadcrumbs

  • 1/4g (25g) parmesan , finely grated

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • Chives or parsley , optional garnish

Instructions

1
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
2
Crispy Topping - Mixed together.
3
Cook pasta according to package directions less 1 minute. Drain and let cool slightly, then return to pan.
4
White sauce - Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
5
Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
6
Add the flour and stir in the melted butter. While whisking, gradually add about 1/3 of the milk. After adding the flour-butter mixture to the milk, add the rest of the milk and stir.
7
Add vegeta, wasabi, onion and garlic powder and stir.
8
When the milk begins to heat, stir constantly to make sure the white sauce doesn't stick to the bottom.
9
After 4-5 minutes, the sauce should be thick enough to make a path on the back of a spoon (see video). Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan.
10
Assembly and cooking - Add the tuna to the pasta and cut it into large pieces with a fork (not too much and do not let it soften while stirring). Add corn, drizzle with sauce and mix gently.
11
Scrape into the baking sheet and cover with the crispy topping.
12
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden on top and bubbly around the edges. Sprinkle with chives, if desired, and serve!

Notes

Vegeta is a brand of vegetable stock powder / seasoning / granulated bouillon. It's salt with flavour. Sold in the herb & spice aisle of everyday grocery stores. See in this post for other recipes using Vegeta and other ways to use it, as well as about scientifically proven MSG misconceptions!! Substitute with any brand chicken or vegetable stock powder (aka granulated bouillon) OR 2 cubes, crumbled. Spices - even if you have just one of these, it will be great! Or sub garlic with more onion, or vice versa. Switch mustard powder with a teaspoon of fresh. Vegetables - can sub with frozen peas. If using other vegetables like carrot, broccoli etc that need to be cooked, steam or boil them separately before adding otherwise they probably won't cook during the bake time. Could also stir in spinach leaves or shredded kale. Or sub some of the pasta with more veg! Leftovers - Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, reheat in microwave. Make ahead / freezing: Make sauce then place lid on and it cool until lukewarm. Add 1/4 cup extra water or milk, mix with pasta, tuna and corn, pour into baking dish, sprinkle with topping. Refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze then thaw and bake per recipe. Nutrition per serving.
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