Retro-Metro Fancy Tuna Casserole

This recipe is a modern and sophisticated twist on a classic comfort food.

Frozen fish is all right if you’re in a hurry, but fresh tuna will make a big difference – less fishy and softer texture. –RR


  • 1/2 loaf day-old crusty bread or 2 crusty day-old rolls
  • 1-1 1/4 pounds tuna steaks (2 big steaks 1-inch thick each)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 16 small button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme or poultry seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup baby frozen peas
  • 1 pound extra-wide egg noodles, cooked to al dente or 12 ounces egg fettuccini (1 box)
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, to garnish


Place the bread in warm oven, 250 °F, to dry and toast, 20 minutes.

Place the tuna in a skillet and add wine, then water – just enough to cover fish. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring the liquids to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover the skillet. Poach the fish for 12 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil, one turn of the pan, and 2 tablespoons butter – reserve the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the shallots and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté gently for 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the ground thyme or poultry seasoning and flour and cook the flour 1 minute, stirring with a whisk. Whisk in the stock, then the cream. Adjust  the seasonings. Add the peas.

Remove the cooked, poached tuna to a bowl and flake fish with a fork.

Add the cooked noodles and tuna to the sauce. Remove the sauce from heat and transfer mixture to a casserole or serving dish.

Use the widest cutting edge on a box grater to grate the bread into large crumbs. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small cup in microwave and pour the melted butter over bread. Scatter the buttery bread crumbs and parsley over the top of the casserole. Serve immediately.

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