Recipe: Tuna Casserole
Trips home seem to be getting busier and busier, more hectic, and not enough time to see friends, spend time with family, all the while catching up on medical checkups, exams, and doing work from Baltimore all at the same time. I find myself distracted, running at warp speed, and I don’t really like it. Baltimore has definitely changed me, in some ways for the better, and of course, in some ways worse. Going home reminds me of a slower pace of life, a mentality to stop and smell the roses. One of the things that reminds me of home is cooking and baking. Back when I had a spacious kitchen, and fellowship/community means gathering over a meal to cook or eat together, I baked and I cooked. And I did it a lot. I prefer fresh tuna over canned, but admittedly, canned tuna is so much easier to use. I hope you enjoy it, it’s cheesy, filling, and heats up great!
- 1 box of rotini pasta, ziti or penne is fine as well
- 2 tbsp of salt
- 1/2 cup of brown beech mushrooms, washed and separated
- 2-3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar
- 1-2 cup of 2% milk (or half-and-half if you feel like being decadent)
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1-2 cans of tuna depending on how fishy you want
- 1 onion, thin sliced
- halved grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of flour, sifted
- 2-3 cups of panko bread crumbs, tossed in olive oil
Preheat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring one large pot of water to a boil, adding salt. Add your pasta, boil until al dente: Wiki says “firm to the bite”. Best way to test is to take out a piece of pasta and bite through it. It should be chewy but not hard which demonstrates that it’s pretty much cooked through, and there is no “raw pasta”. However, it isn’t super soft and mushy like “fully-cooked pasta”. Drain pasta and set aside when done.
In a separate medium to large saucepan, melt 1/2 stick of butter. Sautee the onions until caramelized, add mushrooms until fully cooked.
Add 1/2 cup of flour, stirring constantly to form a thickened roux.
Add 1 cup of the 2% milk (or half-n-half), still stirring. If you want more cheese sauce, add the second cup and stir, bringing to a slow boil. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of cheese slowly and stirring as the cheese melts.
Transfer the pasta to a casserole dish. Mix in the canned tuna, drained and broken up with a fork, as well as the halved grape tomatoes.
Pour over the cheese sauce, mix well. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Then layer with the tossed panko bread crumbs. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes at 365F or until the panko crumbs are golden brown.