For as long as I can remember, I have loved tuna noodle casserole. I don’t even know where I first tried it because my mom has never made it. I actually only remember this one time when I made it and ate it when I was like 15. It’s kind of strange, but maybe we are just destined for one another. Anyway, the casserole I made that time didn’t turn out very good so I haven’t tried making it again since then. Then the other day, I had a craving for it again and found this really tasty looking recipe at the epicurious website so I tried it out.
tuna noodle casserole
Active time: 1 hr Start to finish: 1 1/2 hr
Serves 4 to 6
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick (4 cups)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup Sherry
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-oz) can tuna in olive oil, drained
6 oz dried curly egg noodles (preferably Pennsylvania Dutch style; about 3 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 3 slices firm white sandwich bread)
4 oz coarsely grated Cheddar (1 cup)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
Cook onion in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with a pinch of salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and add mushrooms, then sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to give off liquid, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce and continue to sauté mushrooms, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Sherry and boil, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. Remove from heat.
Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and whisk in flour, then cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add broth in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking. Whisk in milk and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture, lemon juice, and salt. Flake tuna into sauce and stir gently. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Cook noodles in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain noodles in a colander and return to pot. Add sauce and stir gently to combine. Transfer mixture to baking dish, spreading evenly.
Toss together bread crumbs and cheese in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and toss again, then sprinkle evenly over casserole. Bake until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes.
comments: This was everything I dream of in a tuna noodle casserole. I changed a few things though. Since I am not a mushroom fan, I cut up a couple heads of broccoli (as suggested in some reviews) and just cooked them as the mushrooms would have been cooked (with onions, then sherry), and I added some frozen peas before baking the casserole. A lot of reviewers also used panko instead of bread crumbs, so I tried that too. I put in some extra egg noodles (6 oz sounds like really little) because I was feeling hungry. Next time I might also put in more tuna. But anyway, the sauce was really creamy and had some nice flavors from the lemon juice and sherry, the crust was nice and crispy, and overall it was rich but not at all nasty. I really liked the peas and broccoli too. In my mind, my dream tuna noodle casserole always has some peas.
I’m not sure if this really serves 4-6 people because I was really hungry and ate about half the casserole. I mean, I already added more noodles too! But this might just be because I love tuna noodle casserole so much.