I have to admit I didn’t grow up with tuna casserole. My mom wasn’t a fan, so we skipped over that version of culinary “delight” but many of my friends complained about their mother’s subjecting them to the horror that was tuna casserole.
I never actually encountered a tuna casserole until the last full year I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, which would have been 1996. I worked at this really horrible, hole in the wall sort of preschool/daycare. It was a definite step down from the preschool/daycare I had worked at before, but this place actually had a cook on staff. Most of what she made was very good, but I dreaded, as did the children, the days that tuna casserole would make an appearance on the menu. It was a sloppy, icky mess, and even back then my mind went in to gear and I thought there had to be a better way to make a tuna casserole that was actually good.
Years passed, and that little thought was filed away into the “I’ll do that someday!” file and I never got around to getting back to the idea. Recently I decided it might be time to pull out that little thought, dust it off and see if I couldn’t come up with something a little more sophisticated than the standard tuna casserole fare. And you know what? It worked! If you want a tuna casserole that is a little more grown up and not a big old sloppy mess, this is the casserole for you!
What You’ll Need:
4 cups of uncooked egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
Extra virgin olive oil
Finely ground black pepper
1 large tuna steak
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
6-8 Crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 – 16 ounce package of frozen peas
1/2 cup of half and half
1/3 cup of light sour cream
1 cup of Parmesan
Harvati cheese, shredded
Panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cook egg noodles, drain and set aside:
In skillet add a little extra virgin olive oil and place your tuna steak in the heated pan sprinkling it with some sea salt and a little finely ground black pepper:
Cook tuna steak until it is browned on both sides and mostly done through:
Once tuna steak is cooked use a fork and flake the steak into pieces:
In the same pan that you cooked your tuna steak add a little bit more olive oil and saute your mushrooms and onions with a little sea salt and some finely ground black pepper until tender:
Next stir in peas and cook for 2-3 minutes until mostly thawed:
Stir flaked tuna in to the vegetable mixture:
Next mix tuna/vegetable mixture with noodles and stir to mix. Add sour cream, half and half and Parmesan and stir to incorporate:
Pour mixture into a baking dish that has been brushed with olive oil:
Sprinkle with Harvati cheese:
Then sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs:
Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly browned:
Note: You could add other vegetables if you liked. This method could be used with a salmon steak too, but I’d add in some dill if you were using salmon.