Simple Tuna and Shells with Cheese

Simple Tuna with Shells and Cheese
Simple Tuna with Shells and Cheese. Diana Rattray
Ratings (12)
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
402 Calories
6g Fat
50g Carbs
34g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This tasty old-fashioned "sea shells," a tuna and pasta recipe, is a very simple combination of just five ingredients and made on the stovetop—the perfect dish to throw together on a busy weeknight. Any fan of macaroni and cheese will love this dish, and all you need is a salad on the side to make this meal complete.

But since this recipe is somewhat of a blank slate, feel free to add some herbs, cooked peas, or mixed vegetables for a more colorful dish. If you prefer a baked casserole, you can put the pasta mixture in a baking dish and top with some buttered breadcrumbs, French fried onions, or crushed potato chips. Bake at 350 F for about 20 to 25 minutes until the mixture is hot and bubbling and the topping is crispy and golden brown.


  • 3 cups (about 12 ounces) uncooked shell pasta, macaroni, or a similar sized pasta
  • 8 ounces shredded processed American cheese, such as Kraft Velveeta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 or 3 cans (about 14 to 15 ounces total) solid white tuna in water (drained and flaked)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

Cook the shell pasta in boiling salted water following the package directions. Drain in a colander, rinse lightly with hot water, and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the American cheese and Parmesan cheese with the milk. Cook, stirring until cheese is melted.

Stir in the hot cooked pasta shells and the flaked tuna. Blend ingredients thoroughly.

Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serve the pasta with a fresh tossed green salad or Caesar salad and hot baked biscuits or rolls.


This is the kind of recipe you can easily change to your liking, whether it be adding different cheese, including favorite vegetables, or turning it into a casserole. Here are some suggestions for how to enhance this "sea shells" recipe.

Use part Cheddar cheese with the American cheese or all cheddar for a heartier cheese flavor.

Stir in steamed peas, cooked mixed vegetables, or chopped cooked broccoli to the dish along with the tuna.

Saute onions and celery in a little butter; add to the pasta mixture along with the tuna.

Saute 4 to 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and add to the pasta mixture.