Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Take Two- Tuna Noodle-Casserole V2.0

I've shared this recipe before, or rather a previous version. I decided I'd love to have it again, since I'm not sure I'd even made it since I posted it long ago. It's based on a Mediterranean Tuna-Noodle Casserole from Everyday Food. When I tried out that recipe the first time I discovered that I just couldn't stand artichoke hearts. That lesson learned, I had to make a quick substitution and went with frozen peas. This time around I knew that peas were my go-to ingredient, but I also had some green beans that needed to be put to use. Also, I was able to pick up some whole grain egg noodles, which tasted great in this recipe- no big difference at all. I still haven't followed through on my idea of subbing white whole wheat in for the all purpose yet though. Maybe next time, because I think this recipe came out much better than the last. I think I've gotten better at working with flour and making a slight bechamel sauce too. The original Everyday Food recipe was a "Freeze It" feature, so it served 8. This recipe serves 4, but feel free to double up and tuck one in the freezer for a rainy day.

Tuna-Noodle Casserole
Recipe adapted from Everyday Food; Serves 4
Tuna Noodle Casserole
2.5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 lb. whole grain egg noodles
1 red bell pepper, seeded and ribbed, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2.5 cups 2% milk
2 6 ounce cans tuna, packed in olive oil, drained
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped green beans
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil 8" square or shallow 2 quart baking dish. In a large pot of boiling slated water, cook the noodles until 2 minutes short of al dente; drain and return to pot.
  • Meanwhile in a large pot, heat oil over medium. Ad bell peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add mi8lk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a simmer.
  • Remove from heat; add mixture to noodles in the pot, along with tuna, peas, and green beans. Season with salt and pepper and toss. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
My notes: My green beans were pretty crisp still, next time I might toss them in the pan with the noodles for a moment before draining just to soften them up a little. Other than that the crisp was a night extra texture. The original recipe called for whole milk, which might make a slight difference in the creaminess of your bechamel, but honestly I couldn't tell enough of a difference to make it worth it for me. I'm fine with saving a few calories instead, ha. Oh, and I just spray my baking dish with some cooking spray, works just as well and saves me a little of my more expensive olive oil.

If you want to freeze this recipe: Prepare through step 3; cool to room temperature. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and freeze up to three months.
If you want to cook directly from the freezer bake it covered with foil, until center is warm, about 2 hours. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, about 20 minutes more. If you thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, the covered baking time is reduced to 30 minutes.

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