Tuna penne gratin in creamy pink 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.
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This Recipe includes

Main ingredients:

pasta Penne (or any other short-cut pasta)
fish Canned tuna
cheese Grated cheese such as gruyère, emmental, or cheddar.
spinach Baby Spinach

For the sauce:

cream Heavy cream or crême fraiche
tomato sauce Tomato or provencale sauce (store-bought or homemade)
Basil Basil
oregano Oregano
thyme Thyme
garlic powder Garlic powder or flakes
salt and pepper Salt and pepper

Why we love it

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 pasta 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.

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?

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.


How to store it?

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

Nassie Angadi
A cheesy tuna pasta gratin that is a delicious and hearty dish everyone will love.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main dishes
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 400 kcal


  • 400 g 0.9lb of penne pasta
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach
  • 5 oz 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


  • In a large pot on the stove, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients for the pink sauce.
  • Chop the spinach and drain the tuna from the can.
  • Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain the pasta and place it in a large casserole dish.
  • Layer the spinach and tuna between the cooked pasta.
  • Top the casserole with the pink sauce mix it into the pasta bake.
  • Preheat the oven at 375°F (190°C).
  • Sprinkle the top layer with shredded cheese, added liberally.
  • Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese on top looks cooked and golden brown.
  • Serve while warm.


Serving: 1gCalories: 400kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 19gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 559mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3g
Keyword casserole, cheese, gratin, pasta bake, spinach, tuna
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Other gratin recipes


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

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