Tuna Noodle Casserole - Redux

By • January 27, 2011 • 71 Comments



Author Notes: For some reason last night I had the sudden realization that tuna noodle casserole - that classic piece of Americana and staple of Midwestern church basement potlucks - is technically a seafood pasta dish. This struck me as hilarious, and I felt I had to submit a recipe. I've updated it, swapping out the canned soup for a homemade sauce with some herbs and laced with sherry. And I recommend using oil packed tuna, which I've only recently discovered, and which has much better texture and flavor. - fiveandspicefiveandspice

Food52 Review: This is not your mother's tuna noodle casserole from the sixties! With some simple steps, fiveandspice takes this homey classic into a whole new league. It is hard to imagine how good this really tastes until you just make it. The butter, fresh mushrooms, shallot, fresh herbs, lemon zest, and sherry contribute to this cast of characters to make stars out of tuna noodle. The garlic panko topping adds a dramatic finish. Brilliant. Bravo, fiveandspice!Sagegreen

Serves 4

  • 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced portobello mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk (whole)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cans oil packed tuna, drained
  • 8 ounces egg noodles, cooked until al dente and drained
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup panko
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 Tbs. of butter over medium-high until foaming. Stir in mushrooms and cook until mushrooms have given off all of their liquid and cooked through (10 or so minutes). Season lightly with salt and pepper, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add another 1/2 a tablespoon of butter to the frying pan, then cook onion, shallot and celery together for about 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the chopped herbs and the sherry and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir the mushrooms into this mixture, then set this aside.
  3. In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high until foaming. Stir in the flour to make a roux and cook for about 2 minutes. Then whisk in the milk and chicken stock, bit by bit, to make a smooth sauce. Cook, stirring, until just slightly thickened (another minute or two). Then add the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Flake the tuna and combine the tuna, the white sauce, the mushroom-onion mixture, and the noodles all together. Grease an 8 X 8-inch baking pan and transfer the casserole mixture into it.
  5. In a small pan, melt the last tablespoon of butter. Stir in the minced garlic and the panko breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until the panko is golden brown. Sprinkle this all over the casserole. Put the casserole in the oven and bake until it is bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve! (And if you are in a church basement, you might have to throw together a reduxed jello salad as well!)
Jump to Comments (71)

Tags: American, casserole, comfort food, hot, travels well

Comments (71) Questions (4)

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6 months ago Ralph

Made this recipe. Great flavor better tuna noodle than I remember and great leftovers.

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7 months ago deanna1001

Yum! My tuna tins are 7 oz so I upped the rest a bit. 4 servings? We pigged and it served more like 3 1/2 even with slightly higher quantities. Thanks for getting me to do a childhood comfort food with such great results.

Moi_with_tiara

9 months ago lorie brand

I have made this twice in the past week, so that says it all. I did add anchovies to both batches. About 6 filets mixed in with the tuna. Aside from the pasta, I used one pan and just added things in and out. Also used the oil from the tuna to saute the mire pox and the panko. Sub'ed preserved lemon for the zest and got a much more intense favor, but I am a big citrus fan. Gave it a light sprinkle of porini finishing salt at the end too. Way yummy! Perfect comfort food to console us after the 5" of snow this am.

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9 months ago Andrea K

Fan-freakin-tastic. The man loved it too. Followed recipe except for using buttons because that's all I had and doubling the panko. We like panko. I just hope I wake up in the middle of the night to eat some more but it does also sound good for breakfast.

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10 months ago Mas Jen

The Food52 link from Facebook showed 6 photos with anchovies being added to the recipe, though I don't see it here???

Sausage2

10 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I think maybe they were suggesting you offroad from the recipe adding in anchovies on your own, since they called it "your own secret ingredient." It's kind of a good idea and I might try it myself, though of course I like my recipe as is! :)

Stringio

10 months ago Charles Price

Would love to try this and taste with some Oregon White Truffle sprinkled on top.

Sausage2

10 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That sounds amazing.

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11 months ago mlsparks

This looks absolutely fantastic, and I can't wait to try it this week! I shall report back! The only thing i'll be changing is the mushrooms, as my significant other is allergic to all but truffles and button mushrooms. So button mushrooms it is! Very excited for this!

Sausage2

10 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Button mushrooms will be just fine, I'm sure. Enjoy!

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11 months ago Amyliz

I had already overhauled my mom'd tuna noodle casserole by adding fresh veggies instead of canned and oil packed tuna. This took it to the next step. So much better than condensed soup. I substituted white wine for the sherry and made the white sauce in the same pan to get all of the mushroom-y goodness.

Sausage2

11 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Glad you liked it!

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about 1 year ago Pat in SoCal

Just tripled this for my bookclub dinner. Very nice and well recieved. I made 2/3 with tuna and the other third with chopped artichoke bottoms for a quasi-veggie version...which everyone loved! You could easily use veg or mushroom broth to be fully veggie. Next time I will probably make the bechamel a little looser for a creamier finished product....but that's just a personal preference. Thanks for a great and versitle recipe.

Sausage2

about 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's great! Glad it went over well. I like the suggestions for the additional veggies.

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over 1 year ago Waterobin

I'm in my 71st year and still hold a hate for my mother's tuna-noodle cassarole made with canned cream of mushroom soup and topped with crushed potato chips. However, this recipe may get me to loosen up, what with all the nice mushrooms, sherry and lemon. Who says "an old dog . . .?"

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Here's to loosening up! ;-)

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over 1 year ago Risa B

This looks great! Do you think I could make it a day ahead and heat it up in the oven before dinner?

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yes, I think that should work fine.

Stringio

over 1 year ago adele93

how many grams in total for the 2 cans of oil packed tuna?

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I used two 5 oz. cans, sooo, let's see, I think 5 oz. is around 140g, so total would be between 280-300ish grams.

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Of course, that's un-drained. No idea how many grams of tuna it actually is once it's drained. I didn't measure that.

Stringio

over 1 year ago adele93

thank you

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over 1 year ago SMSF

This is a great take on a classic! I added some leftover smoked ham that I had on hand - yum!

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over 1 year ago SMSF

To clarify: I used the smoked ham instead of tuna - the sauce sounded so good for a ham-noodle casserole, and it was!

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Sounds awesome!

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over 1 year ago rhubarb_season

Hands down, best tuna noodle dish I have ever had! I added some frozen peas on my boyfriends request and they fit in nicely. Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

So glad it worked out for you!

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over 1 year ago Nancy D Neilson

I hope this turns out ok without mushrooms. I hate mushrooms!

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hmm, I think it will be quite different without mushrooms since they add a lot of flavor, but I can't imagine it being bad without them, just different! And, since you don't like mushrooms, you wouldn't like all that flavor they lend anyway!

Stringio

almost 2 years ago SaltyLips

Greetings from Argentina!
Here we gave it a try... http://www.saltylips.com...
Thanks for sharing :)

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That is SO cool! Thanks for sharing!

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over 2 years ago Locomoco

I made this last night and finally got a chance to use fresh thyme and rosemary from my windowsill for this fabulous recipe. Lemon zest is freakin' genius! Shamelessly this serving-for-4 almost didn't survive the night between the two of us. My husband love, loves this. Next time only thing I'll do different is double the roux -- cause we're sauce crazy like that .

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

No shame in being sauce people. :) Glad you liked it!

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over 2 years ago janedans

I'm 76, but i love this dish (no muchrooms) my grandmother topped this with leftover mashed potatoes (firm) I like it better than panko

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you! Love the sound of mashed potato topping! It's like tuna casserole meets shepherd's pie. Yum!

Buddhacat

over 2 years ago SKK

Had this again last night and it is divine. One of the things I love about this recipe is it is also easy to add more vegetables if you want without chaning anything. This is such a great recipe and thanks for sharing it!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you!! I'm so thrilled to hear that!

Stringio

over 2 years ago Dr. Smokey

This was so good I blogged about it! Thanks for the recipe!

http://chezsmokey.blogspot...

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's so cool! Thanks for sharing!

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over 2 years ago BlueKaleRoad

We had this for dinner and all loved it! I doubled the recipe and didn't have sherry, so I substituted a combo of lemon juice and white wine. My husband and sons were delighted to have leftovers the next day, too. I'll be making this again soon!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you!!! I'm so completely psyched you guys liked it! I'm just itching to have the chance to make your delicious sounding broccoli-apple soup. It will be happening very soon!

Fb

over 2 years ago BlueKaleRoad

I hope you enjoy the soup! :)

Stringio

over 1 year ago adele93

i like the idea of lemon juice and white wine, i was just wondering if you remember the ratio/quantities that you used?

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over 2 years ago sophieDC

I made this casserole tonight and it was really tasty! Cooks should now, however, that you might feel like you've used every pot and tool in the kitchen. I only used 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs and it was more than enough.

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm happy to hear you liked it! And thanks for letting me know! It's so true, it uses kind of a lot of pots. I'm one of those people who creates a total catastrophe in the kitchen, just grabbing everything I need, rather than trying to streamline. However, a bunch of people had a discussion on a different thread here and figured out great ways to streamline the pan usage, including using a smallish Dutch oven for the sauce, that you then stir the tuna, mushrooms, noodles, etc, into and use for baking. And, using the same pan for the breadcrumbs as you did for the mushrooms and onions. (You could even do all of that in the Dutch oven, if you ordered everything right!).

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over 2 years ago jlhogan

This is a fantastic recipe. Tuna casserole is my husband's favorite comfort food so I'm always looking for tasty recipes that don't include cream of mushroom soup. This was really flavorful--the fresh herbs are genius. I added some frozen peas right before baking. I also added some grated cheddar to the white sauce because my husband's platonic idea of tuna casserole includes cheese, but next time, I think I'll skip--the sauce was very good as is. Finally, I didn't have any sherry so i used white wine. It was fine, but next time, I will make the trip to buy some sherry.

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm so happy you guys liked it so much! Thank you for letting me know!

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over 2 years ago Adelucchi

The tuna casserole was beautiful as it came out of the oven. The flavour was a mystery to me. It
had an Asian taste. Can't figure out why. Actually had a" ginger" taste. Any idea what happened?
We enjoyed the dish even with it's surprise taste.

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hmmm. That's a total mystery to me too!

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over 2 years ago Adelucchi

Just finished this recipe for dinner tonight. It was a pretty intense preparation. Much more than the canned soup version which I have not prepared for at least 25 years!! Already the results are in- the aroma is great so says my husband who is waiting patiently for the serve moment. I'll let you know our final thoughts later.
Thanks again for bringing back pleasant memories. Maybe I'll work on the jello!

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks Adelucchi! I hope the end results met with approval! And, if you come up with a jello salad redux, please do let us all know!

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over 3 years ago VanessaS

Made this for dinner last night and it was a hit! I didn't have enough fresh mushrooms on hand, so I used some peas to get to the same volume of vegetables. Love the rosemary in it!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm so glad to hear you liked it VanessaS! And the peas sound like a delicious - and totally classic - addition. Thanks for the feedback! :)

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over 3 years ago StephAngle

What size cans of tuna do you use? Chunk light or Albacore?

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

5 oz. Cans. I use the kind packed in olive oil. But, really you could use any type you prefer. But isn't chunk light environmentally better?

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over 3 years ago emmanation

This was so delicious. I had it ready for some friends when they got home from a ski trip, and it was perfect - comforting and filling and interesting enough to make me proud to serve it.
I did have to make a couple of substitutions because I apparently wasn't paying attention in the grocery store. I used fresh bread crumbs instead of panko and parsley instead of chives. Still, it was fantastic. I uploaded a couple of pictures - the breadcrumb switch is probably pretty obvious.

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

So glad to hear you and your friends enjoyed the casserole! Your substitutions sound tasty! (also I'm totally jealous of the idea of their ski trip.)

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over 3 years ago Vstarr71

Love this recipe! Going to enjoy it tonight, while watching the Oscars, with a glass of bubbly. Why not?! I used Trader Joe's egg pappardelle pasta and it turned out great! Thank you for the redux!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Glad you like it! And I hope you had a lovely time with the Oscars :).

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

This is a wonderful redux. I had hoped to upload a great photo of the dish I just made...but when I reached to pick it up to take it outside for a photo in the snow, I forgot that it was still ovenhot... it went flying all over the the mudroom entry rug. My photo of some salvaged on a small plate is not very flattering. But it is a brilliant redux!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks so much Sagegreen! And, I kind of love the photo of the salvaged dish - it captures some of the mushy homey feeling that casserole gives you :)!

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

You should ask the editors to upload their wonderful photos of this, since they are so much better than mine! You are able to copy their photo and then upload, but then the credit reads as your photo, which is not really the case...I just tried and removed to avoid confusion!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's a great thought Sagegreen. I'll look into it! I do actually really like your photo though :).

Chris_in_oslo

over 3 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

How funny that you've only just discovered that tuna can come packed in oil! For those of us baby boomers, tuna packed in water was a new "healthier" option. The fact that it was also relatively tasteless didn't seem to matter to a lot of our generation. How sad is that?

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over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Haha, no way! You make me feel like such a greenhorn. :) So funny how food trends come and go...thank goodness we're finally actually starting to get over the myth that fat = evil. Fat = flavor!!!

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Yum. Especially the sherry. Actually, that's kind of a retro touch. A lot of seafood recipes back in the 50's and 60's, when tuna casserole was so popular, had a splash of sherry in them. Great recipe! ;o)

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wow! I love it when I'm retro without even realizing it - then I can pretend I'm hipster, haha!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Delicious! Very clever! Brings back memories...

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Good memories I hope! ;)

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This sounds so much better than the canned soup version!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Haha, thanks. I think it is! :)