A simple, one skillet dinner meal! Cheesy tuna pasta with fresh garden peas.
Growing up, one of my favorite dishes my mom made was a creamy tuna and pea dish. It was a bit different than this one – cream of mushroom soup was the base and we usually had it over rice. But the creamy tuna with plenty of peas and cheese was what I loved most about the dish!
I would ask for this dish all the time. Luckily everyone else also loved it and the dish was easy to prepare (so mom loved it). Needless to say, we ate that creamy tuna and rice dish very frequently.
I wanted to make a dish close to that one, but with more of a focus on cheese and less on the cream. This dish is a more flavorful mac and cheese with tuna mixed in, but it is also very similar to my childhood favorite dish! Now, that’s new school!
Also, this dinner is made in just one skillet with very little preparation required, which is great for a busy night. With school starting up again, I’m sure every mom could use a dinner recipe like this one! I always remember how crazy things got when school started back after a long summer break. This is just the meal to get you back into the swing of things.
To ensure that all of the ingredients get cooked together evenly, you’ll want to use small pasta. I used miniature penne pasta (even though the pictures almost make it look regular sized!). I also tested this recipe with small shells and elbows – both of which worked great as well.
- 2 cups small pasta * I used miniature penne pasta
- 2 cans (5 ounces EACH) Albacore White Tuna
- 2 cups milk 1% fat content or higher
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika optional
- 2 cups shredded cheese**
- 1/2 cup fresh peas
- Fresh cracked salt and pepper
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot sauce optional
- Fresh parsley optional
In a large nonstick skillet: pour in 2 cups of the uncooked pasta; 2 cans of drained, rinsed, and dried tuna; 2 cups milk (MUST be cow’s milk - 1% or higher milk fat. Skim milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. were not successful in my recipe testing), the water, the butter, and dry mustard. Add in the paprika as well if desired.
Bring to a boil over high heat, stir, and then place on the lid. Reduce the heat to low or medium low.
Allow to simmer until the pasta is completely cooked through and the liquid evaporated (about 10-15 minutes depending on your stovetop heat).
During the cooking time, stir the ingredients occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
Once the liquid is absorbed, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese (I like freshly shredded as the bagged cheeses sometimes create a waxy texture when melted) and the fresh peas.
Add salt and pepper to taste as well as hot sauce if desired.
For a pretty garnish add fresh chopped parsley if desired.
*Make sure whatever pasta you used can be cooked in 6-8 minutes per instructions on the box **The cheese is a big part of this dish so choose a very flavorful cheese you love. I used sharp cheddar, but you can use a plain cheddar or a mix of cheeses such as cheddar and Monterey jack
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