Friday, March 7, 2014

Tuna Noodle Casserole

You know how much I love to revamp comfort here's another good one: tuna noodle casserole.

Typically made with condensed soup and canned peas and mushrooms, making it from scratch ups the deliciousness a thousand times over without taking away from that "hug on a plate" comfort that this creamy casserole brings.

Okay, so first, bring a pot of water to a boil so that when it's ready, you can cook a half pound of wide, flat noodles according to the package directions.  Free free to change it up and experiment with the type of pasta...try cavatappi or farfalle for a fun twist!

Preheat your oven to 375.

While the water's coming to a boil, dice up some onion and a couple of stalks of celery.  If you have fresh mushrooms, dice those up as well.  They're pretty traditional in tuna casserole, but I was out and couldn't make a trip out to the store this day, so you'll just have to imagine them in the pictures.

In addition to the onion and celery, crush a garlic clove or two, add some thyme (fresh or dried), some red pepper flakes, and a little fresh ground nutmeg.  Melt some butter or coconut oil in a large pan, and saute all that goodness up for about 5 minutes.

Drain two cans of whatever kind of tuna you're socially comfortable with, or just flake up some leftover cooked fresh tuna.  This would probably work well with salmon or other fish too...I can't think of a good reason to limit it to just tuna.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour over the onion mixture and give it a stir around for about a minute, to get the raw flour taste out.  Add in 2 cups of milk and whisk it until the mixture thickens up, like a nice sauce.

Add in the tuna, a cup of so of frozen peas, some salt and pepper, and possibly a little more nutmeg, if you were shy with it to start.  Stir it all together well.  Mix in the cooked pasta.

Grease a casserole dish, and pour your noodley, tuna-y, creamy mixture.

In a small bowl, make a crunchy topping out of something crunchy mixed with melted butter or coconut oil and a bit of garlic salt.  Breadcrumbs are good, crushed cereal, chips, or crackers will creative with what you have on hand.  I'm trying to stretch what I have for Lent, so I went with some smashed up crispy rice cereal.

Sprinkle that over the top of the casserole.

Shred some cheddar or co-jack cheese (feel free to play around with other cheeses too!), and sprinkle that on top.

Bake for 25 minutes, until it is bubbly and the cheese is melted and starting to tan up.

Dig in and enjoy!

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