Saute, broil to make tuna-noodle casserole

The Baltimore Sun

This is a new version of the tuna casserole Mom used to make. Instead of baking the casserole for an hour, I just sauteed the vegetables, mixed them with the boiled pasta and finished the dish under the broiler to melt the cheese.

It's a meal you can make in minutes without a trip to a supermarket if you keep these staples on hand: canned tuna, macaroni, canned pimentos, Worcestershire sauce, carrots, onions and frozen peas.

One item I find very useful is dried mushrooms, especially wild mushrooms. Just a few give a lot of flavor to a dish. Because the mushrooms will cook in the sauce, I simply reconstitute them for a few minutes in hot water and then add them to the recipe.

Putting it all together

Helpful hints

Slice onions and carrots in a food processor to save time.

Prepackaged shredded cheddar cheese can be used for the topping, or any type of cheese you happen to have on hand can be substituted.

Use a skillet with ovenproof handle or casserole dish that can go from stove top to oven.

Wine suggestion

Tuna-Noodle Bake is comfort food. Try a comfort wine -- a nice, soft red like one of those cabernet sauvignon-merlot blends from Chile that are sold in supermarkets.

Tuna-Noodle Bake

Makes 2 servings

1/4 pound elbow macaroni

1/2 cup dried mushrooms ( 1/2 ounce)

1/2 cup hot water

2 teaspoons olive oil (divided use)

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (1 cup)

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups skim milk

1 cup frozen tiny peas

1/2 cup diced or sliced pimentos (4-ounce jar)

one 6.5-ounce can water-packed tuna, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, plus more if needed

2 teaspoons dried oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place water for elbow macaroni on to boil. Preheat broiler. Soak mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet or a casserole. Saute onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add second teaspoon of oil and flour. Mix with vegetables until well blended.

Add skim milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly to form a sauce.

Drain mushrooms and, if some are large, cut into bite-size pieces. Add mushrooms, peas, pimentos and tuna to sauce. Mix well, breaking tuna into small pieces. Add Worcestershire, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

Continue to simmer, gently, while pasta cooks. Place macaroni in boiling water and cook 10 minutes. Drain and mix in with sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding more Worcestershire, salt or pepper if needed. Sprinkle cheese over top and place under broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to melt cheese.

Per serving: 669 calories; 49 grams protein; 87 grams carbohydrate; 14 grams fat; 4.7 grams fiber; 58 milligrams cholesterol; 684 milligrams sodium

Recipe analysis provided by the Miami Herald.

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