Friday, 19 June 2015

Hairy Bikers' Tuna Penne Bake

OCD Panic Rating: 2/5
Handwashes: 3

One of the foundations of the Hairy Bikers' Diet Club is limiting the easy calories that come with large portions of rice, pasta, potatoes and the like. As someone who would happily eat pasta morning, noon and night without complaint, such limited portions have left me with a bit of a craving, so this recipe really leapt out at me. Containing more calories than many of my recent dinners (yes, I'm being extra good again), the thought of some pasta indulgence made it seem worth it.

The preparation was pretty easy. Cook some pasta, chop some veg for a tomato-based sauce, throw in some tuna and olives for flavour, and bung in the oven with a smattering of low-fat cheese. Simple.

And there weren't many problems. Most of the handwashes came from handling the mushrooms. They are number five on my list of horror foods after all. Cleaning the dirt off them set my teeth on edge, but I felt better knowing that they were to be baked for fifteen minutes. Also had a minor panic when I thought that the baking tin was too small to hold the mixture I was pouring at unstoppable speed. It just about fit, although there was definitely some escaped penne to mop up afterwards.

Coming out of the oven, it looked appetising-ish:


The low-fat cheese doesn't melt in the same satisfying way as regular cheese but it still looked like a good meal when served up with some salad:


So many carbs!

Because it has more veg and less cheese than your average pasta bake, it doesn't have quite the oozy joy of the traditional version. But for someone who's been stingy with carbs lately, just being faced with a plateful of pasta was happiness enough. It'll never replace the high-cal recipe. However, for those minding their meals, it makes a reasonable replacement.

Key Points:
  • Check the size of your baking tin before getting into a panic.
  • Most low-cal versions of things are as good as the original.  This does not hold true for cheese.

Win Rating: 4/5.

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