Do you ever get nostalgic for food? Something that was a mainstay favorite as a kid but but as an adult, doesn’t even register as a dining option? I’ve been dabbling with childhood favorites recently — and — don’t laugh… but I had a hankering for Cheesy Homestyle Tuna Noodle Casserole. Not the blue box of macaroni and cheese with a can of tuna kind of casserole, but the real deal.
One like my Mom used to make — with real vegetables minus the can of condensed soup that Campbell’s made so popular back in the day. One with a soft, melty interior and a crusty top. With two (or even three) kinds of cheese.
Since the weather is getting cooler (we had a cold snap yesterday), I felt justified in making this casserole, kind of a bulking up before hibernation instinct.
This casserole takes about 20 minutes to assemble and only another 20-25 minutes of baking, so in under an hour you can be tucking into this bit of homestyle goodness.
This casserole isn’t a big one. It’s just my husband and myself in the house, after all. We had enough for dinner with a salad and he took the remainder for lunch the next day. If you’ve got a bigger group, the recipe can be doubled or even tripled accordingly.
Like your Mom's tuna noodle casserole, minus the cornflakes. Recipe can be doubled
- 2 cups dry shell pasta or elbow macaroni
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup provolone or smoked gouda shredded
- 1 7 ounce can tuna fish chunk white (preferably Kirkland brand)
- 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a small casserole dish (I used a 5x8" dish with 2" sides) with vegetable spray and set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water and pour in the pasta. Cook until al dente according to package directions. Rinse with cool water. Drain and set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until tender crisp and slightly translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Sprinkle the flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, mustard and oregano over the vegetables and stir constantly for one minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly and bring to a boil. Cook for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese and tuna fish, stirring until the cheese is melted. Stir in the pasta and peas, mixing until evenly distributed with the sauce and tuna.
Spread the tuna in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.
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