Who doesn't love tuna noodle casserole?
OK, people that don't like tuna maybe but, most of us, whether we admit it or not, enjoy eating this classic comfort food every once in a while.
Unfortunately, most recipes for this old standby contain lots of unnecessary fats and salt; this is particularly true of the famous "condensed mushroom soup" recipe.
My recipe on the other hand calls for fresh vegetables and a combination of milk and stock, allowing you to control the salt and fat content without a loss in flavor.
Peas, broccoli and mushrooms and seasonings such as Worcestershire sauce, sherry and lemon juice are present in this updated version of the old classic.
You can use any pasta you want but I like to stick with the traditional eggs noodles.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Simple Green Salad
5 tablespoons butter or oil
1-1/2 cups finely chopped onion
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped (roughly 2 cups)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons sherry or white wine
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
a 6 ounce can of tuna, drained
salt and pepper
6 ounces dried curly egg noodles
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small cubes
Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes.)
Add the mushrooms and broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give off their liquid and the broccoli florets begin to turn bright green (about 3 minutes.)
Add the peas, sherry or wine and worcestershire sauce and continue to cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and wipe the skillet clean.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter oil in the skillet over medium-low heat and whisk in the flour.
Cook the flour, whisking continously, until it just begins to turn a light tan color (about 3 minutes.)
Add the broth in a stream, whisking continously to avoid clumping, and bring to a simmer.
Whisk in the milk and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly (about 7 minutes.)
Stir in the mushroom-broccoli mixture, parsley and lemon juice.
Flake the tuna into the sauce and stir gently.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper as needed.
Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
Drain the noodles in a colander.
Add the noodles to the pan with the sauce and stir gently to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a buttered 9X9 pyrex baking dish.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the casserole and dot with the butter cubes.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until the topping is crisp and the sauce is bubbling (20 to 30 minutes.)
Let stand for about 10 minutesbefore cutting into servings.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
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You can make the tuna-vegetable sauce ahead if you like.
Simply keep tightly covered in the refrigerator until needed.
You may need to thin it down a bit with more stock before using.
When it comes to canned tuna, some say that albacore is the most flavorful and that you should always buy tuna packed in oil for maximum flavor.
Nutritionally-speaking, however, water-packed tuna is better because it has fewer calories and more omega 3 fatty acids (in oil-packed tuna, the tuna's natural oils mix with the packing oil and cause omega 3's to leak out.)
For recipes such as this, the differences don't really matter much.
Buy whatever you prefer.