Tuna Noodle Casserole
By Andrew Zimmern
I joined senator Amy Klobuchar for a friendly hot dish cook-off to benefit Second Harvest Heartland. Senator Klobuchar made her signature Minnesota-style hot dish, layered with ground beef, onions, cheese and tater tots. I chose to share one of my all time favorite comfort food classics, a tuna noodle casserole. A simple casserole of tuna, egg noodles, a few fresh vegetables and herbs, and cheese. Instead of opening a typical can of cream of chicken soup to bind it all together, make your own! It only take a few minutes and tastes infinitely better. Don’t skip the homemade breadcrumb topping, it really makes the dish.
Andrew’s Tuna Noodle Casserole
Chunky Lemon Herb Bread Crumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 3 garlic cloves, grated on a Micro-plane
- Several pinches of cayenne pepper
- Salt and black pepper
- 4 cups of torn day old bread
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- A few pinches freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups thinly sliced carrots
- 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
- 2 medium sized yellow onions, minced
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 1/4 cup minced tarragon
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
- 2/3 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons Wyler’s instant chicken bouillon powder
- 8 ounces frozen peas, rinsed well in hot water
- 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 16 ounces tuna fish, drained and gently ‘crushed’ to separate
- White pepper
- 1 pound ‘extra-large’ egg noodles
First, make the breadcrumbs. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to create large coarse bread crumbs.
Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Reserve for topping the casserole.
Keep the oven at 350 degrees F.
Place the butter in a large skillet with high sides over medium heat.
Get a pot of water boiling on the stove as well to cook the pasta. Add a few tablespoons of kosher salt to it.
Add the flour to the skillet with the butter and cook for several minutes to create a roux. Add the nutmeg. Stir and add the carrot, celery, onion, herbs. Cook until glassy.
Add the broth and milk in batches, stirring until simmering. Add the bouillon powder, stirring. Mixture should be simmering and thickened.
Add the peas, cheese and stir well to incorporate. Pull from heat, fold in the tuna, and season with salt and white pepper.
Cook the noodles about halfway to al dente. Drain well. Combine with the vegetable/tuna mixture.
Place in a lasagna pan. Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. Cover with the bread crumbs and serve.