Sunday, March 04, 2012

Things to make with cans: Tuna pasta casserole

Just back from Kuala Lumpur and here’s my list of the top 10 things you must take with you on every trip

1. Paper clips to pin those pesky landing card bits to your passport – so you still have them when you try to get out of the country
2. A passport holder that you can strap around your waist – even if you’re not wearing a belt. Samsonite has a nice one.
3. A little plastic baggie so that your passport stays dry in the waist pouch
4. Numeric locks so you don’t need to wonder where the keys are
5. One of those elastic luggage straps so you don’t need to worry about that overstuffed suitcase springing open
6. A second small purse or wallet so you can keep your Indian money in one and the local currency in another
7. A collapsible bag so you can shop + extra lock if necessary
8. Wet wipes – invaluable; I carry the Kara make-up removal wipes so they double up as face cleansers every night
9. Lots of ziplock baggies – ever noticed how liquids like deo and lotion always get forced out of their containers by hold pressure during a flight?
10. Inflatable neck pillow for the flight
I also have a packing list that you may find useful. Write to me if you’d like it.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
on Our Best Bites
Now to the casserole. I found it on Our Best Bites – which is rapidly becoming my favourite blog for interesting recipes. I made it almost exactly the way Sara makes it – except double the quantity, in about two of the baking dishes of the size in the photo above. I added a few capers as suggested in one of the comments and I used crushed Monaco biscuits instead of Ritz crackers. It is a slightly long recipe with a few different steps, but all of them are easy. We no longer make white-sauce based recipes, but this one was worth making the exception for. Zach said there was too much tuna, Kevin had two heaped helpings and I had two small ones. Worked for both lunch and dinner with a side of microwaved broccoli with garlic salt – especially on a day when I was feeling particularly crafty after a long time.

Tuna Pasta Casserole

(Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites)

  •  200 g pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions (shells work best, but I used penne)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 200 g mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth, warmed (I used chicken cubes and hot water)
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp dill
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, more if you like
  • 2 tbsp fresh minced parsley
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (I used less)
  • 1 small can tuna, packed in water, more if desired
For the topping:
  • 1 packet Monaco biscuits, crushed in the packet
  • ½ tbsp melted butter
1. Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in a large pan. Add the celery and saute for two to three minutes. Add the onion and cook for two to three minutes longer, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and cook for three to five more minutes, until mushrooms are golden and tender. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan after the mushrooms are added, if needed. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.

2. In the same pan, melt the remaining three tbsp of butter. Add the flour and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Slowly add the warmed broth and milk, a little at a time, constantly whisking until mixture is smooth. Bring to a low simmer. Add salt, pepper and dill. Stir constantly until thickened and bubbly, about two to three minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the lemon juice, parsley, and ½ cup (or some) Parmesan cheese. Whisk until smooth. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary, and add extra lemon juice if you like. Remove from heat.
3. Mix the Monaco biscuit crumbs with the ½ tsp melted butter to make the topping.
4. To the white sauce mixture (now off the fire), add the cooked pasta, vegetables and tuna. Stir to combine and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and top with the Monaco crumb-butter mixture.
5. Bake in a hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden and the pasta is hot and bubbly. Let the casserole rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving to allow the sauce to thicken.


And while on the subject of things to make with cans, perhaps you would like these recipes we’ve tried earlier on A Woman of Process:

Tuna fishcakes

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