First of all Eid Mubarak to all my muslim readers!! Had a wonderful Eid over here, a bit rainy though. Here in Maldives we are getting ready to celebrate our 50th Independence day celebrations, which is the 26th of July, although the celebrations are starting tonight . The streets are in chaos as there are lights coming up ...... and the kids are looking forward for the Independence day fireworks and lights shows and everything else.
I wanted to make pasta and since the IHCC ladies are doing Jacques Pepin recipes these days I made Jacques Pepin's Penne Gratin for dinner. But ! I decided to jazz up Jacques Pepin's Penne Gratin with tuna ( of course) and leeks. So this is a jazzed up version of Jacques Pepin's Penne Gratin. This is one of the recipes of Jacques Pepin that I love because its pretty straight forward no fancy stuff and uses cheese that are easily available here.
Recipe : Penne Gratin slightly modified version of Jacques Pepin's Penne Gratin recipe
2 cups penne pasta
1 1 /2 tsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated chedder cheese
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 can tuna, flaked
1 large leek, finely sliced
1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
small knob of butter
1 large tomato, deseeded and chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp paprika and pinch chilli powder
Preheat oven at 400 degree F , lightly oil a 6 cup oven proof dish.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water , till almost aldente' . I like to keep it slightly under done as the pasta is going to be cooked in the oven as well. Drain and set aside.
[Heat a large frying pan and melt knob of butter and add the leeks and garlic and herbs and soften them. Then add the flaked tuna and cook for a minute or two. Season with a little salt and pepper ( if you like it spicy add a little chopped up green chilli, )] . Add this into the pasta .
To make the cheesy bechamel sauce : melt butter and add the olive oil into a sauce pan. Once it melts add flour and whisk well over a low heat. Add milk a little at a time , whisking as you add it. Bring to the boil and stir often so it doesnt catch at the bottom and burn. Once it start to thicken, add cheese and salt and pepper. Cool slightly.
Then add the sauce into the pasta and mix well.
Pour the pasta mixture into the oven proof dish, top with the chopped tomatoes. Mix the grated parmesan cheese with paprika and chilli powder and sprinkle this all over the top of the gratin.
Pop in the oven and bake for 30 minutes till the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden.
Remove and serve!!