When you were a kid, did you hate Tuna Noodle Casserole? I actually only hated it when I was really young, like at age 5. But, as I got a little older, I really started liking it. Egg noodles, creamy sauce, tuna, peas, and mushrooms. Yum. Back then (I won't tell you what decade that was) it was usually made with cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup or some "cream of" soup. As a young adult, I used to cook with those things all the time. I even used to cook Hamburger or Tuna Helper. Shocking, I know. Don't get me wrong. Those are good products for busy people or those that don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I have just come to love making almost everything from scratch.
Now that we have teenagers, it's interesting to see what they like and don't like. Our daughter is extremely not picky. In fact, she will try anything and eat most things. She even likes sushi. Our son, on the other hand, is a lot closer to the picky side. At age 12, he still won't drink sodas, which is a good thing. He picks things out of food that I cook. And we learned just the other day that he doesn't like Tuna Noodle Casserole. My husband, daughter, and I loved this casserole, but the boy didn't. Picky. He's one of those kids that will gag when forced to eat something he doesn't like. Guess you can't win them all.
So let me tell you about this Tuna Noodle Casserole. It has a sauce made from heavy cream. It has two kinds of cheese. It has crushed Butter Garlic Ritz crackers on top. I even used Cavatappi pasta instead of the egg noodles. Cavatappi is a hollow tube pasta that's twisted. (See? Twisted Tuna. I"m so clever.) So it's kind of an updated better version of an old comfort food favorite.
Come on baby, let's do the twist.
TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE
One 11-ounce pouch of tuna (the family size)
1 lb pasta, any shape
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T lemon juice
1 C frozen peas
2 T butter
2 T Italian parsley, chopped
2 T flour
3 C heavy cream
1 C shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, any flavor, crushed
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Melt the butter into a large skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle in some olive oil and cook the onion and celery until tender. Add in the mushrooms and cook until they are browned and tender. Remove the veggies from the skillet. Whisk in the flour. Add in the cream, lemon juice and garlic. Whisk and cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the veggies, tuna, frozen peas, and parsley. Combine this with the drained pasta.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the tuna noodle mixture into a 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheeses over the top. Sprinkle the crushed Ritz crackers over the cheese. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted and the Ritz crackers are slightly browned.