I saw that canned tuna was on sale at a number of the grocery stores this week. I was thinking of doing something with it other than tuna sandwiches (which I love – with celery, green onions, fresh dill, salt, pepper and a bit of mayo), or tuna salad. A whole can of tuna with greens, cut up veggies and some strawberries or mango with vinaigrette really is a quick satisfying salad.
However, one of the memories of growing up was a tuna noodle casserole. I decided I would make my own recipe using a variety of ingredients I had on hand. I had seen a number of recipes using canned soup as the base but that just doesn’t fly with me. I use a white sauce with lots of flavour as my base and then add the ingredients I wish to put in.
The mise en place.
12 ozs (1 box) of fusilli noodles cooked as per package directions
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 red pepper, cored and chopped
1 package of mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp of flour
3 cups of milk (more if necessary to make a nice sauce
100 grams cream cheese
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup chopped parsley
2 cups chopped kale
2 cups frozen peas
2 cans chunk tuna, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 1/2 cups crushed corn flakes ( I used Quaker oat squares instead!)
1 cup grated cheese for the top
1 cup milk to pour down the side
Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan or large heavy based pot. Add in the onion and sauté until nicely browned. Add in the red pepper and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are golden. Add in the garlic and stir for 1 minute.
Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and stir for 1 minute. Add in the milk a cup at a time, scraping up the brown bits as you go. Add in the milk a cup at a time allowing the sauce to thicken. Add more milk if necessary to end up with a slightly thicken consistency. Add in the cream cheese and stir until it is dissolved.
Add in the cheese, parsley, kale and peas. Stir until the kale softens and the peas become bright green. Remove from heat. If you have space in the pot or using a large bowl, combine the pasta, sauce, tuna and beans and stir to incorporate. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as required.
The completed white sauce.
Pour the mixture into a lightly oiled baking pan, top with the last cup of cheese and sprinkle the corn flake crumbs on top. Pour the remaining cup of milk down the side of the casserole. Bake in a 350º oven for 30 – 40 minutes until the casserole is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
In the casserole, ready for the crumbs and cheese topping
Ok – so the comments from the assembled crowd??? “We don’t like it at all. We love it!” The leftovers are great as well. Happy cooking.