Tuna penne gratin in creamy sauce

Get the easy recipe for tuna penne gratin in a delicious pink sauce that can be served for dinner, at a picnic, or a takeaway lunch.
You are currently viewing Tuna penne gratin in creamy sauce
(As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn commissions on certain purchases. Please note, information provided is for entertainment purposes. See our disclosure policy for details.)

This Recipe uses:

  • Penne (or any other short-cut pasta)
  • Baby Spinach
  • Canned tuna

For the sauce:

  • Heavy cream or crême fraiche
  • Tomato or provencale sauce
  • Herbs: Dried basil, oregano and thyme
  • Garlic powder or flakes
  • Cheese (gruyère, cheddar, emmental, parmesan, etc.)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

There is something quite satisfying about digging into a tuna casserole. This tuna and pasta gratin is adapted from the French gratin dauphinois to make a delicious tuna penne gratin covered with lovely gooey cheeses.

It is a simple and satisfying dish, and a great way to use up some leftover tuna in your fridge or some canned tuna you have in your pantry.

ingredients for the pink sauce
Making the pink sauce

The key is the sauce, which is a pink sauce made from combining crème fraiche (or heavy cream) with a ton of herbs and spices to infuse throughout the gratin.

Once the sauce is mixed, it is time to assemble the rest of the dish. Just combine the tuna with fresh spinach, pasta al denté and cheese and you are more or less done.

With that, you’ve got a hearty dish that makes a wonderful weeknight dinner, or a simple side dish for a party with friends and family.

Frequently asked questions

What to serve with it?


This tuna penne gratin would go well with a starter like bruschetta or a tomato tartare. Another option would be a salad like this Périgord salad with gizzards.

What drinks to serve with it?

two wine glasses

For drinks, try a light white wine such as a Côtes de Provence or a Languedoc-Roussillon wine along with the tuna penne gratin.

If you don’t like white wine, try a chilled rosé from the Rhone or Corsica.


Can you prepare it in advance?

Yes, if you do want to prepare this tuna penne gratin in advance, let it cool completely and place it in an airtight glass container.

However, it is not a dish that freezes very well because the pasta and cheese can get soggy, so I don’t recommend it.

Similar recipes

tuna penne gratin

Tuna Penne gratin

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A cheesy tuna pasta gratin that is a delicious and hearty dish everyone will love.


  • 400g (0.9lb) of penne pasta
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • 5oz can of tuna (140g)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (parmesan, gruyère, cheddar, emmental, etc.)

Pink Pasta sauce

  • 3/4 cup of crême fraiche (heavy cream)
  • 3/4 cup of tomato coulis or tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper


  1. In a large pot on the stove, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients for the pink sauce.
  3. Chop the spinach and drain the tuna from the can.
  4. Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain the pasta and place it in a large casserole dish.
  5. Layer the spinach and tuna between the cooked pasta.
  6. Top the casserole with the pink sauce mix it into the pasta bake.
  7. Preheat the oven at 375°F (190°C).
  8. Sprinkle the top layer with shredded cheese, added liberally.
  9. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese on top looks cooked and golden brown.
  10. Serve while warm.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 559mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 19g

Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for entertainment purposes only.


If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French side-dish recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt!

Leave a Reply