Friday, March 14, 2008


Skillet tuna noodle casserole (recipe in the comments)

Hot tea
We saved this recipe for tonight this week as it seemed like a quintessential Lenten Friday meal. I happen to love tuna noodle casserole, but have never found a recipe that has enough kick for my adult tastes. Don't get me wrong - I'm not looking for this to be spicy, just more than tuna, noodles, peas, and cream of mushroom soup. We started with an Eating Well recipe that didn't include canned soup and altered it considerably to suit our tastes. I think I have previously fessed up to my dislike of mushrooms and they were a star ingredient in the original. We added spinach to the finish instead for bulk, color, and a bit of protein (not to mention an extra serving of leafy greens for the week!). Borrowing from a skillet turkey tetrazzini recipe we have, we added pimentos for a bit of flavor, yet more color, and added sauce thickening. Our end result was very good and we think with a bit more tweaking, it'll be the tuna noodle casserole we have been seeking! Our recipe (with a few additional suggestions) is the one posted. Let me know if you try it, as I'd love feedback!

NOTE: To make this the way we did you need a very large oven proof skillet. If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, you could make it without broiling the top and I think it would be fine. If you don't have a very large skillet, make it in a large Dutch oven.

Prep Notes
Difficulty: Moderate
Chopping: Onion, cheese
Time: 40 minutes
Make ahead: There is a make ahead preparation listed at the end of the recipe, but you do need to bake it for 65 minutes just before serving.

J: "This could be it."
M: "Shows promise as a grown up nuna and toodles."

1 comment:

J said...

Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole – J & M (inspired by Eating Well)
Serves 6 (really)

½ lb medium egg noodles (whole wheat is ok)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 ½ t salt, divided
½ cup dry white wine
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups nonfat milk
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ t heaped freshly ground nutmeg
12 ounces canned tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4oz diced pimentos, drained
1 cup thickly shredded Parmesan cheese (or try it with cheddar or emmentaler)
4 oz baby spinach

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook noodles until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onion and ½ t salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the onions; stir to coat; and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add milk, pepper, 1 t salt, and nutmeg and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in tuna, peas, pimentos, and cheese until evenly incorporated. Toss in the spinach a handful or two at a time, stirring until wilted. Stir in the noodles (the pan will be very full). Remove from the heat. Taste for seasoning (especially salt and nutmeg).

Broil until bubbly and lightly browned on top, 2-3 minutes.

Alternative preparation (requires ½ cup breadcrumbs): Prepare through Step 3, spoon into an 11x7-inch glass baking dish, cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake, covered, at 350ºF for 50 minutes. Uncover and cook until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes more.