RECIPE

Uptown Tuna Casserole

Break away from ordinary tuna noodle casserole and add wine, Gruyère cheese, tarragon and more for an “uptown” version of an old time favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound extra-wide egg noodles
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced, washed and dried
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2-2 cups whole milk or half-and-half or cream
  • 1 rounded tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen baby peas (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, loosely packed, chopped
  • 3 cans good quality tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked
  • A piece of Gruyère cheese (6 ounces), shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons chives or parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

Preparation

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Salt the boiling water and cook the noodles to al dente.

While the water comes to a boil, place the oven rack in the center of the oven and turn on the broiler. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the EVOO, a turn of the pan, and the butter. When the butter melts into the EVOO, add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and garlic and allow the leeks to wilt, 5-6 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over the leeks and mushrooms and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine for half a minute, then whisk in the milk or half-and-half or cream and simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken and reduce the sauce. Stir in the Dijon mustard and season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the peas, tarragon and tuna, then return the sauce to a bubble and turn off the heat. Add the cooked noodles to the sauce, transfer to a casserole and top with the Gruyère cheese. Pop the casserole in the oven and broil until bubbly and brown, 3-4 minutes. Garnish with chives or parsley and serve immediately.

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