April 14, 2010
Grown Up Tuna Casserole
I have to admit I didn't grow up with tuna casserole. My mom wasn't a fan, so we skipped over that version of culinary "delight" but many of my friends complained about their mother's subjecting them to the horror that was tuna casserole.
I never actually encountered a tuna casserole until the last full year I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, which would have been 1996. I worked at this really horrible, hole in the wall sort of preschool/daycare. It was a definite step down from the preschool/daycare I had worked at before, but this place actually had a cook on staff. Most of what she made was very good, but I dreaded, as did the children, the days that tuna casserole would make an appearance on the menu. It was a sloppy, icky mess, and even back then my mind went in to gear and I thought there had to be a better way to make a tuna casserole that was actually good.
Years passed, and that little thought was filed away into the "I'll do that someday!" file and I never got around to getting back to the idea. Recently I decided it might be time to pull out that little thought, dust it off and see if I couldn't come up with something a little more sophisticated than the standard tuna casserole fare. And you know what? It worked! If you want a tuna casserole that is a little more grown up and not a big old sloppy mess, this is the casserole for you!
What You'll Need:
4 cups of uncooked egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
Extra virgin olive oil
Finely ground black pepper
1 large tuna steak
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
6-8 Crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 - 16 ounce package of frozen peas
1/2 cup of half and half
1/3 cup of light sour cream
1 cup of Parmesan
Harvati cheese, shredded
Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cook egg noodles, drain and set aside:
In skillet add a little extra virgin olive oil and place your tuna steak in the heated pan sprinkling it with some sea salt and a little finely ground black pepper:
Cook tuna steak until it is browned on both sides and mostly done through:
Once tuna steak is cooked use a fork and flake the steak into pieces:
In the same pan that you cooked your tuna steak add a little bit more olive oil and saute your mushrooms and onions with a little sea salt and some finely ground black pepper until tender:
Next stir in peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until mostly thawed:
Stir flaked tuna in to the vegetable mixture:
Next mix tuna/vegetable mixture with noodles and stir to mix. Add sour cream, half and half and Parmesan and stir to incorporate:
Pour mixture into a baking dish that has been brushed with olive oil:
Sprinkle with Harvati cheese:
Then sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs:
Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly browned:
Note: You could add other vegetables if you liked. This method could be used with a salmon steak too, but I'd add in some dill if you were using salmon.
Posted by Dianne at April 14, 2010 11:03 AM
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Now that's a yummy looking tuna casserole!!! I happen to like it but, like you, I like to put fresh mushrooms and frozen (never canned!) peas in it and good cheese. Some people make it with canned soup and velveeta--ick! Yummmy
Posted by: Glenna at April 14, 2010 11:46 AM
Wow. I'm usually not a big casserole fan, but that looks amazing.
Posted by: Allie at April 16, 2010 7:28 PM
I can't imagine canned soup and Velveeta in a tuna casserole, but maybe that's what my friends were complaining about! Ick!
I'm usually not much of a casserole person either, but one in a while!
Posted by: Dianne at April 19, 2010 10:48 AM
Tried this tonight and it was *very* good. I never thought of using fresh tuna and it made a world of difference. It wasn't one bit fishy. One question - my casserole was a little dry. You think I need to add more sour cream or half and half (or both) in order to compensate for the egg noodles? I used "regular w/ egg yolk" noodles. Great recipe and it made a bunch of leftovers! I can't wait for tomorrow night! lol :)
Posted by: Stacey at May 10, 2010 10:51 PM
More sour cream and/or half and half would be fine! Sometimes the ingredients just absorb more of the moisture, so you might have to add a bit more. Glad you liked it!
Posted by: Dianne at May 11, 2010 1:08 PM