TUNA & FENNEL PASTA BAKE
250g (8oz) pasta shells (conchiglie) salt and black pepper 1tbsp sunflower oil 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced 1 onion, finely sliced 60g (20z) butter 60g (20z) plain flour 600ml (1 pint) milk 1 × 200g (70z) can tuna in brine, drained and flaked 3 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped 125g (40z) mature cheddar cheese, grated 2tbsp chopped parsley to garnish
1-cook the pasta shells in boiling salted water according to packet instructions until just tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
2-Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan, add the fennel and onion, and cook for 3/5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Set aside.
3- Melt the butter in a large saucepan, sprinkle in the flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually blend in the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring until the mixture thickens. Sinner for 2-3 minutes.
4- Stir in the cooked pasta, the fennel and onion, tuna, eggs, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, then turn the mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish.
5- Bake in a preheated oven at 200 C (400 F Gas 6) for about 30 minutes or until heated through and golden brown on top. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
To reduce fat, boil the fennel and onion with the pasta, make half the quantity of sauce in 3, and make up the volume with pasta cooking water. You could also omit the eggs and halve amount of cheese.