Crazy me, I made 88 delicious meatballs one afternoon and when my P.S. came out into the kitchen and asked what was for supper, I said “Tuna Casserole”. He laughed and thought I was joking. Then he laughed again 20 minutes later when I served him up tuna casserole! “That was fast!” he said, surprised. It was also very tasty!I make tuna casserole about once a year. That’s when my P.S. thinks to request it and I oblige by making it. It’s not on the top of my “love it” list. And since we gave up using canned soups years ago it is a dish that takes more time than I think it’s worth because I need to make a sauce of some kind. But today I had a few ingredients I wanted to use up in the fridge and my P.S. had asked for tuna casserole a couple of days ago. I was ready to take on the project.
Searching recipes on the internet I got a lot of ideas and went from there. I needed to use up a small container of diced olives, a couple handfulls of chopped fresh spinach, a tub of white button mushrooms and half a red bell pepper. Add to that wide egg noodles from my pantry, shredded parmesan, heavy cream, soy milk, and green onions. I figured that all might make a good dish.
After I sauteed the onions and peppers in a large skillet in the oil and butter, I added the mushrooms and black olives and let them cook a few minutes while I started my pasta to boil. I think I could have put my seasonings in at this point but I did that later when I finally remembered. I did sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stirred to incorporate.
After the flour had cooked for a few minutes, making the roux, I added the milk and cream. I only had soy milk on hand so the cream was a nice touch to add richness to the sauce. Once that was heated through I added the parmesan and stirred that well. I added the tuna and the seasonings and stirred it again.
When my pasta was done so that it was a bit more al dente than usual, I drained it and saved some of the pasta water in case I needed it later. I scooped the pasta into the skillet and stirred well. I let it cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally. I didn’t need to add more water but if your noodles suck up the sauce quickly and look dry, add more water and stir. You could do this several times until your pasta is done to your preference. I learned that neat trick from the tv chefs.
At the last minute I stirred in the chopped fresh spinach and let the pan set for a few minutes. I just wanted the spinach barely wilted and warm.
I served the tuna casserole topped with thinly sliced green onions and we thought it was the best tuna casserole, ever. So many nice flavors and the tuna wasn’t a real “in your face” fishy taste. I think that’s why I liked it so much. I enjoyed the mushrooms that were still firm, the peppers that had a very slight crunch. You could serve some crushed potato chips over the top for a little more crunch, but it’s not really necessary. This was a very pleasing new twist on the traditional tuna casserole.
Stovetop Tuna Casserole
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1/4 cup diced black olives
1/2 bag wide egg noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded parmesan
1-2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
In large skillet add oil and butter and set on medium heat. Add onions and red peppers and fry until they are translucent. Add mushrooms and black olives and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle flour over the veggies and stir to mix. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring often, to make your roux.
Add cream and milk and stir. Add tuna and stir again. When the mixture is bubbling again, stir in the parmesan.
When egg noodles are still pretty al dente, drain and reserve a few cups of liquid. Toss the noodles into the skillet and stir until it is covered in sauce. Add water as necessary as the liquid is absorbed into the noodles.
Stir in spinach and serve topped with finely sliced green onions.