Comfort Food Reinvented: Tuna Noodle Casserole

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Tuna noodle casserole is my one true weakness. Whenever I make a batch, I can easily eat two bowls, no problem. If I didn’t hit the off button, I could probably eat the entire casserole dish.

Despite this dish’s narcotic effect on me, I was getting burned-out on the recipe I’d been using over the years. Even though I had graduated from the condensed soup version, my casserole lacked punch and pizazz. Enter Elliott.

With a few simple additions, he reignited my desire for this delicious classic. Sadly, he also resurrected my dark side. When Elliott decided to have some leftovers for breakfast, he didn’t know that meager amount would be subtracted from his dinner that night by the TNC Portion Control. What can I say, this dish brings out the hoarder in me! 😉

Ingredients:
1 pound pasta (macaroni or other small tubular pasta)
2 cans albacore tuna, drained
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 leek, sliced thin
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
2-3 chanterelles, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup flour (for the roux)
3 tbsp. butter (for the roux)
1/2 cup green peas (frozen)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2-3 tbsp. butter
Creme fraiche
Salt & Pepper
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 375˚ and boil the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large pot (we used our dutch oven and it worked perfectly), heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and leeks and cook until soft. Add the garlic and stir regularly until the garlic smell has mellowed somewhat, 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir periodically until they release their liquid. Watch for the garlic sticking to the bottom of the pan (if it does, turn down the heat slightly). Deglaze with the white wine. In another pan, make a roux with some flour and butter. Add this to the pot along with the milk and broth and stir until thickened. Add in the noodles and tuna, making sure to break up the chunks, then add the peas. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl with 2 tbsp. butter and microwave for a few seconds, until the butter is melted. Stir together until the crumbs are evenly coated. Transfer the noodles to an oven safe dish (or not, if you use a dutch oven) and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden. Mix in creme fraiche and top with parsley.

Enjoy! You may find yourself guarding your bowl with your life… 😉

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