No really, I mean it. Do not laugh. Really. Because I made tuna casserole.
Would you believe that I’ve never eaten tuna casserole? Nope, never. I think my dad was scarred, mentally and possible physically, from Nana’s Friday night Tuna Fish Hotdish and he thankfully never made it for me. And Nana had outgrown condensed soup casseroles by the time I came around.
I happened to be flipping through some of my ancient Gourmet magazines, (YES I’ve kept them ALL) and I came upon a collection of recipes from a Mother’s Day article—all the writers contributing something that reminded them of their mamas. Of course there was a tuna noodle casserole.
But this one didn’t have any canned soup. So I started there and then came up with something that I am completely and totally bonkers for. I can say without embarrassment: I freaking love tuna noodle casserole.
Basically, you’ve got to replace the soup with a savory sauce of your own. Since the soup is usually cream of mushroom, it only makes sense to saute an enormous amount of mushrooms for your sauce.
While the mushrooms cooked down, I seasoned them with both soy sauce and sherry. A wacky and deliciously umami combination.
So next up is making a quick roux with butter and flour, then adding chicken stock and boiling until thickened. Then you add milk for creaminess.
Finally, season it up and add back the onion and mushroom mixture.
Flake in the drained tuna.
By the way, while all of that was happening, you boiled some egg noodles right? RIGHT? Right.
So I dumped all the ingredients into a big bowl and stirred about. I’m sure you could just mix it in the pasta pot. And I added some peas and parsley. Because I just can’t stand it when there’s no color contrast in my food. HONESTLY! All brown food? Kind of unappetizing if you ask me.
Pour the noodles into a baking dish and cover with the bestest breadcrumb mixture in the whole wide world. (It’s just sliced white bread, whizzed in the food processor, mixed with shredded cheddar, grated Parmesan and olive oil)
Then you bake it for about a half-hour and you’re good to go.
Kind of makes you want to eat tuna casserole, doesn’t it?
Try it out! Even if you are haunted by some horrible canned soup nightmare of a childhood casserole. This one is worth the extra effort.