I decided to stick to ramekins and seafood this week. It just seemed like a good theme to go with and I’ve used ramekins a little more often lately because it makes it easy to send food to work with my husband for the next day.
The advantage to dividing everything up into ramekins is that it makes it easy to portion out and to reheat the leftovers later on. For main dishes, I use 6 oz. ramekins to make about the perfect size portions. If anyone wants more, they can just grab another one. Anyway, now that I’m done with my ramekins speech, let’s get on to the real reason we’re all here…The Food!
Tuna Noodle Casserole, the classic favorite but this recipe is nothing like the tuna casserole that I grew up with as a kid. I have to admit it was years before I would eat it again and have worked to turn it into something that I would eat more often. I finally have a version that is not only yummy but my taste buds love it and it’s actually good for you. It’s light and filled with good stuff, not heavy as most tuna noodle casserole usually is.
As with any recipe, using good ingredients is key. I still used canned tuna cause I wanted to make this easy but I get the wild-caught tuna filet (caught responsibly on hook and line, not in nets), instead of using the regular version which you can’t tell exactly what part of the tuna (or if it’s even really tuna) you’re getting cause it’s already shredded. You can use your choice of tuna for this but I do recommend using a good quality one.
As you know, I like to use whole wheat noodles and penne is one of my favorites just because I feel like it adds a little elegance to the dish. Toss in some frozen peas, a little Peccerino Romano, some roasted red pepper and top with Panko and you have an awesome tuna noodle casserole.
Now you might think that there is going to be too much liquid into this when you thicken the milk but don’t worry, the noodles absorb plenty of it and still leave it creamy. The one thing that really makes me dislike a tuna casserole is that most people don’t put in enough liquid or they overcook them, either way, they are dry and not good.
I cooked the ones we needed for dinner that night and saved a couple in unbaked form to send with my husband to work so they don’t become overcooked. He’s lucky enough to have a toaster oven at work. For those that don’t, you’ll have to go ahead and prebake them and just pop them into the microwave until bubbly.
Give this recipe a try and let me know how your taste buds like this version of tuna noodle casserole with the low-fat modern twist.
Tuna Noodle Casserole
6 oz. whole wheat penne noodles or 3 cups cooked noodles
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup shallots, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. flour (whole wheat or all-purpose)
8 oz. canned tuna filet
3 cups skim milk
1 cup frozen green peas
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Peccerino Romano (or use grated Parmesan or Romano)
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 Tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 450°. Prepare 4 – 6 oz. ramekins or 8″ casserole dish by lightly buttering or oiling.
Cook pasta to al dente, drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add the shallots and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook while stirring constantly for about one minute or until flour is lightly browning. Slowly add the milk, whisking into the flour/shallot mixture and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and cook until sauce starts to thicken, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.
Fold in the tuna, frozen peas, roasted red pepper, cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to your prepared baking dishes and pop into the oven until their golden brown on top and bubbling (don’t overcook, this usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes at the most). Serve immediately while hot.
Makes 4 servings.
More Tuna Casserole and Seafood recipes: