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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Veggie Tuna Pasta Bake

Home sweet home....today we're headed back to St. Louis from Arizona (hopefully to Spring-like weather). Vacation recap to come!

If we're being plain and simple, this is tuna casserole. But it's different than most tuna casseroles I've ever seen or had, so I decided to give it a little bit more of a sophisticated name! I used a recipe found on a blog as inspiration, but ended up straying from it based on what I had in my fridge. The result was a wonderfully creamy yet fairly healthy dish. All of green vegetables gave the meal a pop of color and some nutrients to boot! I loved the crunch of the breadcrumbs that I sprinkled on the top at the last minute and will amp it up even more next time with a bit of wheat germ (good idea Ryan!). Try this sometime, it's a less indulgent meal that still feels like comfort food...perfect for this transition from Winter to Spring!

Veggie Tuna Pasta Bake
inspiration found here

-12 oz. whole wheat penne
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-3 stalks celery, chopped
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-2 cups skim milk
-1 cup light sour cream
-1/2 jar artichoke hearts, chopped
-4 green onions, chopped
-3/4 can black olives, chopped
-4-5 cups fresh spinach
-handful of fresh parsley, chopped
-2 cans tuna, packed in water
-1/4 cup breadcrumps

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cook pasta for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large soup pot, heat garlic and celery in a little bit of cooking spray or olive oil, 5-6 minutes.
3. Pour in flour and stir for about 30 seconds.
4. Add milk and stir continuously until mixture thickens and there are no lumps (about 5 minutes)
5. Stir in sour cream. When mixture begins to bubble, lower heat slightly.
6. Add artichokes, green onions, olives, tuna, and parsley. Mix to combine. Add spinach and stir until it begins to wilt. Stir in pasta and mix to combine.
7. Pour pasta mixture into a baking dish (mine fit in a 9 x 9) and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes.