Italian Tuna Noodle Casserole

Cook’s Notes: This is a delicious variation on the standard tuna casserole. It features whole-wheat noodles, extra vegetables, and a homemade white cheese sauce. The stovetop method makes this a quick meal: no baking is required. The sauce with Italian-style flavorings is easy to make and is so much more delicious than canned condensed soup. As a bonus, leftovers freeze well and can be reheated in the microwave for lunch the next day.

12-oz package wide whole-wheat noodles
16 oz bag frozen peas with pearl onions (about 3 c)
8 oz package sliced mushrooms
3 T butter
3 T all-purpose flour
1.5 c milk, 2%
1.5 c shredded Italian cheese blend (a mix of mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, and Asiago)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Ground black pepper
3 (6 oz) cans chunk tuna in water, drained

Start the pasta water: In a large pot of salted water, boil noodles until al dente. Note: Add the salt called for on the package (the brand I used called for 1 T salt).

While the noodles cook, prepare the vegetables:

  • Place the frozen peas in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 5 minutes. stir well.
  • Lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray, and sauté the sliced mushrooms until tender.
  • Add the mushrooms to the peas, and stir well.

Make the cheese sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour to evenly combine. Add milk, and whisk until the sauce thickens. Be careful not to let the milk boil or scald. Add cheese to mixture, and whisk until cheese is melted. Whisk in the rosemary, garlic, and black pepper to taste until mixture is well blended.

Drain the noodles. Stir in tuna, breaking up any large chunks. Add the peas and mushrooms. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, and stir gently to combine all ingredients. Makes about 8 to 10 servings.

Recipe Source: Inspired by several recipes, including a posting by Cat on Allrecipes.com. The idea to add rosemary and garlic to tuna casserole comes from my friend Anna.

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