Tuna noodle casserole typically does not fall under the gourmet category. It may not be fancy but it is some seriously good comfort food.
A few weeks ago after church my boyfriend and I were going to swing by the grocery store to pick up something for lunch. It was a cold and rainy day, which is the perfect setup for comfort food and movies. I asked him what sounded good and gave him a rundown of possible menu options and he chose pasta. So for the rest of the ride to the store I came up with a tuna noodle casserole recipe in my head.
Friends…. This is good eats. It was the perfect thing to enjoy on a rainy day (which there have been WAY too many of recently in Chicago) and it was really cheap! The sauce is a simple white sauce that is enhanced with Dijon mustard, sour cream, and two kinds of cheese. No canned soups here! I swapped out the traditional potato chip topping for Ritz crackers since I had them on hand.
Plan on lots of leftovers! I sent some home with my boyfriend who ended up eating it for the next four out of five meals. I think it is safe to say he liked it.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing
· 1 lb elbow macaroni
· 1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
· 2 stalks celery, chopped
· 5 Tb butter, divided
· 3 Tb flour
· 2 cups milk
· 1 Tb Dijon mustard
· ½ cup sour cream
· 4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
· 4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
· 1 tsp salt
· ½ tsp pepper
· 15 oz tuna in water, drained
· 1 ½ cup peas
· 26 Ritz crackers, crushed
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and add to a large mixing bowl.
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the chopped leeks and celery. Saute until tender and almost translucent. Transfer to the bowl with the pasta and wipe the skillet out with a paper towel. Melt three tablespoons of butter in the same skillet, add the flour and whisk until it forms a paste. Slowly add the milk to the skillet, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Cook until thickened slightly, whisk in the Dijon mustard and sour cream. Add the shredded cheese and stir and heat until it is a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and vegetables. Stir gently with a spatula. Add the drained tuna and peas and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish. In a small bowl combine the crushed crackers and the remaining two tablespoons of butter, melted. Toss with a fork and spread over the top of the casserole. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 25 – 30 minutes until bubbly and the top is golden.