4 servings Easy
4.5 47
(47)
Total: Active:
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Ingredients (17)

For the casserole:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 celery stalks, small dice (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper (no seeds or membranes)
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 ounces dried flat egg noodles
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated aged cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 6 ounces high-quality imported tuna packed in oil, drained

For the topping:

  • 1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated aged cheddar cheese (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 cup crushed saltines (about 20 whole crackers)

Summary

Tuna noodle casserole is a thing with the potential of sending a chill down the spines of Baby Boomers, who knew it as a salty, gloppy, and mostly gray pile of cafeteria lunch in elementary school. In the late 1980s, scores of recipes for honest remakes (using good ingredients and respecting the textures of just-cooked noodles, a creamy sauce, and a crispy topping, be it toasted bread crumbs or crunched-up chips or crackers) appeared. This recipe is in the latter category, tuna noodle casserole redux, if you will, something to wipe away Boomer memories of weird-smelling school cafeterias. Using the right kind of canned tuna is everything. Our favorite is premium tuna packed in olive oil (we particularly like Ortiz Bonito del Norte).

For more, check out our Fish Pie, Smoked Salmon and Bagel Casserole, and Tuna Melt Potato Skins.

Instructions

For the casserole:
  1. 1Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish, and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. 2Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot and the butter foams, add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the scallions and jalapeño and cook for 3 minutes more.
  3. 3Add Old Bay Seasoning and flour to the vegetable mixture, stirring until the flour is well incorporated. Cook for 1 minute, then slowly pour in the milk, stirring well to make sure no lumps of flour remain. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in sour cream and mustard, and set aside.
  4. 4Once the water is boiling, add the egg noodles and cook until just tender (cut open a noodle—it should have a white core running through the middle), about 3 minutes. Drain.
  5. 5Stir 3/4 cup cheddar and the egg noodles into the vegetable-and-milk mixture. Flake the tuna into the mixture and stir gently to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish and set aside.

For the topping:

  1. 1Combine the parsley, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of cheddar, and the saltine crumbs in a mixing bowl, using your hands to mix well until all the butter is incorporated. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the casserole. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crackers are golden brown and the casserole is bubbling.
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