One Skillet Creamy Tuna Pasta

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The best and easiest ONE POT creamy tuna pasta! A super easy and quick ONE DISH dinner! via chelseasmessyapron.com | #tuna #creamy #pasta #onepan #onepot #easy #quick #peas #comfort #food #recipe #recipes
Special thanks to Genova for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own!

Your favorite comfort food — tuna casserole: reinvented! This creamy tuna pasta with peas is made in one skillet.

As soon as the weather starts really cooling down, it’s hard to want anything other than comfort food! Soups, stews, pot roast, and a personal favorite: creamy tuna and pasta. My mom frequently made creamy tuna over rice growing up and it was one of our favorites! This recipe is adapted from her creamy tuna and rice, but with one major change: we’re using pasta instead of rice.


Part of the “fun” of this recipe (besides having hardly any dishes to wash!) is how customizable it is. You can really change up this dish with how you top it at the end.

  • If you’re wanting more of a traditional tuna noodle “casserole” feeling, you can add crushed butter crackers, breadcrumbs, or potato chips
  • If you’re wanting a more cheesy tuna dish, you can stir some freshly grated cheese into the dish AND top individual servings with a sprinkle of cheese
  • If you’re wanting more of a seafood dish you can add in more lemon and even serve this dish with some lemon wedges and freshly chopped parsley
  • If you’re wanting more of a “kid-friendly” “tuna helper” dish you can add in some miniature frozen carrots and corn

Whenever I’m asked what my favorite canned tuna is, it’s not even a question — Genova’s Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil is the BEST. Genova’s tuna is packed in olive oil which really does make a huge difference to the overall taste and especially for this simple dinner recipe.

Beyond the quality and flavor of the tuna fish, Genova also sources 100% of their tuna from fisheries that are MSC certified (you can read more about that here!) Essentially to be MSC certified, the tuna fish has to meet rigorous standards that help protect the marine environments.


More Tuna Recipes:

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Creamy Tuna Pasta

4.82 from 11 votes
Your favorite comfort food -- tuna casserole: reinvented! This creamy tuna pasta with peas is made in one skillet.
Print Recipe

Creamy Tuna Pasta

4.82 from 11 votes
Your favorite comfort food -- tuna casserole: reinvented! This creamy tuna pasta with peas is made in one skillet.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 458kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons 2% or whole milk, separated
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 and 1/4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 1 package (16 ounces) small pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 cans (5 ounces EACH) Genova Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil, drained
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, fresh parsley, fresh lemon wedges

Instructions

  • In a large nonstick pot (the skillet in pictures was used only for photos to better show the dish -- use a pot). add in the olive oil. Turn the stove to medium-high heat and once the oil is shimmering, add in the onion. Saute for a few minutes and add in the garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add in 1 cup of the milk, the water, broth, and UNCOOKED pasta shells. Add some salt and pepper to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper). Lower the heat and bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring often until the pasta is al dente (according to package directions) The pasta will continue to cook a bit over the next few minutes so don’t overcook it here*. 
  • Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons milk, Dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Add the drained tuna and mix gently until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Let the pasta rest for about 6-8 minutes. It will continue to thicken and get nice & creamy. Stir in the frozen peas.
  • Add freshly shredded cheddar cheese and fresh parsley as desired. Or serve without the cheese and with additional lemon as desired. Enjoy immediately.

Video

Recipe Notes

*Depending on the brand (and size) of your pasta there is some variance. You may need to add slightly more liquid toward the end of cooking time if the noodles are absorbing a lot of the liquid. But be careful to not add too much or it will get soupy. There should still be liquid left even after the noodles are tender (it thickens as it sits for a minute). 

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 458kcal

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Recipe Rating




30 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this, and it was great! I added sharp cheddar, and it reminded me of my mom’s tuna noodle casserole from when I was a kid but made with much better ingredients. I definitely suggest using whole milk and small shells as the recipe states. The first time I made it I only had skim milk (which was not as creamy as I would have liked) and medium shells (which were too big to be covered by the cooking liquid). It still tasted great, but definitely go with the recipe! My only suggestion is to thaw the peas a little because adding completely frozen peas cooled it down.

  2. 5 stars
    This was great!!! Made it for a family gathering and it was devoured. I did not have enough liquid at the end so I added 1/2 a cup of my homemade Alfredo sauce, keeping in mind I doubled the batch. I used penne pasta as well and topped with cheese but still this is a definite make again recipe, that I will save.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious. I had to leave out the mustard since my husband doesn’t like it. It was still amazing. I’ll have to add some mustard to my own serving.

    My only question: Can this be frozen? We are only two people and a pound of pasta could give me three meals : )

    1. In my experience, pasta never freezes and reheats very well so I don’t think this would be a great dish to freeze. That said, I haven’t personally tried freezing this dish; wish I could be of more help!

  4. 5 stars
    Super easy. I followed the recipe completely (except I halved) and I would say there was plenty for two people for a nice lunch. I loved the flavor the Dijon Mustard added. This will be great to make ahead this fall before returning to the classroom for a great “on-the-go” teacher lunch! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ahh I’m soo happy you enjoyed this!! Thanks so much for your comment and thanks for being a teacher (you guys don’t get enough appreciation for all you do!)

  5. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! It was my 8-yr-olds night to make dinner. He had to find a healthy recipe instead of just the easiest (mayo…)

    We used canned peas which was still okay given that the sauce was delicious, although I’ll use frozen next time.

    My son now calls this ‘his dinner special’ and requests to make it weekly.

    Tonight I decided to try another tuna last and man do I regret it. The pasta being cooked with the milk in your recipe is SOOO much creamier and flavorful. I’m making sure to bookmark this so I don’t lose it again.

    1. Awe this made my day!! Thanks so much for the comment Amy! I’m thrilled your son loves this dinner! 🙂 Thank you!

  6. Wow I’m so sad because the Dijon completely ruined this. I’ve made this dish before but using a different recipe. I decided to give this one a try and the Dijon added such a weird taste that did not go with the tuna at all. I love Dijon, too. I’m now having to force myself to finish all of this…soo without that ingredient this would have been perfect! BEWARE!

    1. Oh no!! So sad to hear you didn’t enjoy the Dijon in this; sorry Katie! We love it with it, but sad it ruined it for you!

  7. 5 stars
    So happy to have discovered this!!! Couldn’t believe how yummy it was for being so quick and easy to make. I ended up using quinoa and brown rice pasta and threw in some chopped spinach rather than peas since that was what I had on hand. Turned out AMAZING and my husband couldn’t stop saying how good it was. I agree :). Will definitely add this to the rotation.

  8. 3 stars
    Quick and easy recipe.
    3 stars due to ours turning out like a soup, also could taste pasta water flavor more than tuna even made with 2 9oz cans of tuna.

    1. Sounds like it might not have been simmered long enough or on a high enough heat. Shouldn’t turn out like a soup. Did you make other changes to the recipe?

  9. 5 stars
    Delicious! I subbed spinach for the frozen peas since that’s what I had and added fresh dill from my garden at the end. Yum!

  10. Made this for a quick Saturday night meal and the whole family (kids aged 6 and 8) loved it. I’ve never cooked pasta in milk, and it was a nice surprise to see how well it worked. Bonus points for only using one pot. Will definitely make this again.
    Thank you!

  11. 5 stars
    I took this as inspiration and made it my own with whole wheat bowtie pasta, oat milk, and some frozen broccoli along with the peas. It’s delicious and comforting. Thanks!

    1. I’m sorry I’ve never actually cooked with gluten-free pasta so I really don’t know. Wish I could be of more help!

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