With two weeks of “out of the house” work under my belt, it’s time I turn my attention back home and figure out just how I am going to pull off this juggling act. I realize that I’m lucky to work in a place from where I can always bring home a delicious meal but I like cooking for my family and don’t want to let that slide too much (on the other hand, laundry, lawn mowing…I’m happy to watch roll off my plate). So I started thinking that I would start the week off with a Monday night dinner that I prepare on Sunday. It’s a baby step but a way to regain some order, so to speak. In a perfect world, I suppose that I would cook a couple of meals on Sunday and put a bunch in the freezer but if your life is anything like mine, Sundays are spent running from one field to another, cheering on kids with lacrosse sticks, soccer balls and hockey pucks, so even if I had spare room in my freezer (which I do not), I certainly don’t have the time or energy for such preparedness.
First on my list, the ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ Tuna Noodle Casserole. Please don’t walk away from your computer. I know that Tuna Noodle Casserole is a somewhat polarizing comfort food classic. It’s not a sure thing like chicken pot pie, macaroni and cheese or meatloaf with mashed potatoes but it does hit all of the comfort food requirements. It is warm, creamy, old-school, and basic. And really, it’s delicious. If you are a skeptic, I urge you to give this updated version a try. If you’re a fan, I just made your day.
This Tuna Noodle Casserole doesn’t rely on cream of mushroom soup or canned fried onions (although I do believe that a sprinkle of those golden onions would make this even more delicious). It features thinly sliced fresh mushrooms and chopped onions sautéed in butter, soy sauce and Sherry and a roux thickened with chicken broth and milk. The tuna is a bit player in the casserole which you may find more appealing. If not, feel free to double up. I found the Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe on Epicurious and revised it a bit, feel free to improvise, as well.
So, go ahead and introduce your family to a new comfort food classic. Enjoy!
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 lb mushrooms, trimmed and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 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 teaspoon salt
- 1 (6-oz) can tuna, drained
- 8 oz dried wide egg noodles (1/2 of a bag))
- 1/4 c cups bread crumbs
- 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil drizzle
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
- Spray a shallow 2-quart baking dish (or a deep pie dish works well).
- Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter with a pinch of salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, 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, to taste.
- 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, then sprinkle evenly over casserole.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes.
- If making this dish ahead of time, prepare until (*) step and allow noodles to cool before covering with foil and placing in the refrigerator. Before baking, remove foil, bring to room temperature, top with bread crumb/cheese mixture and proceed according to the directions.