Tuna Noodle Casserole

The comfort of tuna noodle casserole. My love for it knows no bounds. This version combines all the things I love so much–pasta, tuna, mushrooms, leeks, a white cheddar sauce, greenery in the form of dill, a crunch from tortilla chip crumbles.

The casserole of my childhood was similar but different. Elbow macaroni. A lot of Velveeta. No crunch. No baking. This felt like the grown-up version and still elicited a lot of the same eyes-rolling-into-the-back-of-your-head goodness. I struggled with my portions as I often do when pasta and cheese are involved.

We managed to save leftovers. I was that person who ate fish in the office. I promise I didn’t reheat it. I’m not that cruel.

Inspiration: Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 12oz dried egg noodles
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts, finely chopped
  • 10oz crimini mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine [I used vermouth because that’s all I had on hand]
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6oz white cheddar, grated
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce [I used tapatio]
  • 12oz tuna, packed in oil, drained and broken into pieces
  • 2 handfuls of tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dill, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 13×9″ baking dish.

Cook the egg noodles in a large pot of boiling, heavily salted water for about 2-3 minutes. The pasta should still be very al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Melt 1/2 of the stick of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and leek and stir often. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until they start to soften but not brown. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for another 4-6 minutes. The moisture from the mushrooms should seep out and cook off. Add the wine and continue stirring occasionally until the moisture is nearly gone. Season with salt and pepper.

In a pot, melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter on medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook the roux until it’s golden brown, about two minutes. It will be shiny and smooth. Whisk constantly and add the chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream, cheddar and hot sauce. Stir often until the cheese is melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, mix together the mushrooms, cheese sauce, noodles, and tuna. Everything should be evenly coated. Taste for more salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the top with the chips. Bake for about 20 minutes. The casserole will be bubbly and the chips starting to brown. Remove from heat and let it sit for about five minutes. Sprinkle with dill before serving.

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