Tuscan Tuna Mac Casserole

finished.with.basil

—Tuna Casserole gets a much needed facelift with this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. Never one of my go-to favorites, I have now elevated the status of this common comfort food out of the lower echelon of possible dinner entrees… so yes, I will definitely make it again!

While I was skeptical about using only two 5-ounce cans of tuna (after all, it is supposed to serve 6-8), we didn’t feel cheated in the least. In fact, quite the opposite.

I’ll confess that I upped the cheese quotient from 4 ounces to about 6, and used a combination of green and purple basil but otherwise followed the recipe as written—except for length of cooking time. After 30 minutes, the crust wasn’t browned enough, so we let it cook for an additional 10 minutes and that gave us the perfect result!

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red and/or green sweet peppers
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Tuscan Garlic Herb Blend (see below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked egg noodles
  • 2,  5-ounce cans oil-packed tuna, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

helping.of

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart au gratin or baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, peppers, and onion. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the herb mix, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Fold in the noodles, tuna and 3 tablespoons of the basil. Spread in prepared dish and arrange tomato slices over mixture in a single layer.
  4. In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, melted, remaining 1/2 tablespoon herb mix, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle over tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and crumbs are golden brown. Garnish with remaining basil.

Tuscan Garlic Herb Blend

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme, crushed
  • 4 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed

Shake everything together in a small jar, cover and store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

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