Growing up, my family ate mostly American. By this, I mean that if mom wasn’t dishing out macaroni and cheese, she was probably sprinkling crushed potato chips on a tuna casserole.
But I was proud of this. Because if you look at American food, there isn’t much we’ve developed as a settler country other than dreaded Chili-Mac pops and corn-dog pizza…except for the casserole. And though the original casserole was actually the product of a French immigrant, I think we can still take credit for our modern, “add soup” variation, known as tuna noodle casserole.
With that said, I bring you this sophisticated version of an age-old classic. And best of all, I’ve added wine.
Grown-up Tuna Casserole
(Serves 6-8, Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray)
1/4 loaf of day-old crust bread
1 bag of extra-wide egg noodles
1 pound of tuna steak(s)
1 cup good white wine
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
12 white mushrooms, sliced thin
freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. ground thyme
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup frozen peas
chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Place bread in the oven at 425° F and toast loaf for 20-30 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, then pasta. Cook according to package directions to al dente. Drain.
Place tuna in a small skillet and add wine; add just enough water to cover fish. Add bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring liquids to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover skillet. Poach fish 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add mushrooms and season with salt and epper. Saute gently 5 minutes. Sprinkle in type and flour and cook 1 minute, stirring with a whisk (here, you are making the cream of mushroom soup). Whisk in chicken broth, then cream. Adjust seasonings. Add frozen peas.
Remove poached tuna to a bowl and flake with a fork (make sure the pieces are small to avoid an overly fishy taste in each bite).
Ad noodles and tuna to mushroom sauce. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a casserole or serving dish (I used 9×14).
Use the biggest holes on a box grater to grate bread into large crumbs. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small cup in microwave and pour melted butter over bread. Scatter bread crumbs and parsley over the top of the casserole. Serve immediately.
Will last, refrigerated, in an air-tight container for about 4 days.