Time: 30 minutes prep; 45 in the oven at 350F
- one medium sized onion, diced
- 2-3 stalks of celery, diced
- handful of white or brown mushrooms, chopped (optional)
- one clove of garlic, sliced thinly or minced (optional)
- 2 6-oz. cans of tuna, thoroughly drained, and flaked
- dried spaghetti or linguini (about 3/4" diameter held between your thumb and index finger, if you circle them together), broken in half or thirds
- 3-4 Tbs. of olive oil
- 2 Tbs. of flour
- 1 to 1-1/4 cups of milk (you could use light cream)
- pepper (preferably freshly ground)
- handful of grated parmesan
- handful of Italian-style breadcrumbs
- Sautee the onions, celery, and mushrooms in enough olive oil to get the job done, making them sweat, not fry, on medium to medium-low heat. This should take no more than 10 minutes. Set them aside to cool.
- Add 2 Tbs. of olive oil and 2 Tbs. of flour to the pot in which the veggies sauteed, and stir or whisk well to make a roux. Cook it just long enough to get the flour taste out of it. You're shooting for a really light roux here, so it shouldn't take more than a minute or two.
- Add some milk, maybe 1/3 of a cup to start with, and whisk it in really well. When it starts to thicken, add more milk, a splash or two at a time, and whisk it in really well. Repeat as necessary until you have a sauce that's not runny, but somewhat on the thin side. It should coat a spoon, but drip off pretty quickly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Collectively, this step with the previous one, is sort of a fake bechamel. Cover the pot, so your sauce doesn't form a skin, unless you do step 4 simultaneously with this one.
- Boil the pasta, according to directions. You can let it go a minute or two beyond al dente, but don't let it get mushy. Frankly, you can do this simultaneously with step 3.
- Drain the pasta and stir it into the milk/cream sauce, mixing well.
- Stir in the veggies, and mix well, then stir in the flaked tuna, and mix well. It's supposed to look like glop -- it's a casserole.
- Pour the mess into an oven-proof casserole dish, sprinkle a handful of grated parmesan on top, then sprinkle a handful of Italian-style breadcrumbs on top of that.
- Bake in a 350F oven, covered, for 30-35 minutes, then remove the cover, and bake another 10-15 minutes. It's done when it smells done, the sauce bubbles through the topping in a few spots, and the topping gets golden brown.
- I was out of mushrooms, so I omitted them this time. I like this dish better with the mushrooms, but it tastes fine either way.
- All I had around was 2% milkfat milk, so that's what I used for the sauce, but it doesn't really matter what you have around -- it'll work, as long as you shoot for the right consistency of the sauce. Even skim works.
- The reason for the milk/cream sauce being a little on the thin side is that while the casserole bakes, the pasta will absorb more liquid, so the sauce gets thicker by default.
- Leftovers reheat really well in a microwave on 40-50% power.