It’s been quiet around here for the past week or so, as we have been vacationing in Rhode Island. We are on our way home today after a week of fun and relaxation with the extended family!
I recently decided to dust off some of my cookbooks, which were feeling neglected and find some new recipes to make. I have a bunch of Rachael Ray cookbooks. Her recipes are quick and easy to make, although many take a lot longer for us to make than her “3o minutes.” The recipes are also usually pretty tasty. I often adapt the recipes adding or omitting ingredients based on our taste preferences, but there are very few of her recipes that we don’t enjoy. And I have made A LOT of her recipes. I was perusing Express Lane Meals and found this tuna casserole recipe. When I made this a couple of weeks ago, the weather was surprisingly cool for summer. I had most of the ingredients on hand and was in the mood for a comforting classic. When shopping for the frozen spinach that the original recipe called for, I saw that Shoprite now sells boxed frozen chopped kale. I had to try it and think it was a great substitution in this recipe. There are few foods that my daughter dislikes, but tuna is one of them. When she found out what I was making for dinner I had to listen to her complain that I knew she didn’t like tuna and why couldn’t I make something else. She also might have mentioned that she wasn’t going to eat dinner. I tried to tell her that this wasn’t like the tuna sandwiches that she often sees the rest of the family eating. There’s no mayo and she likes pasta and cheese. Wouldn’t you know that she ate this with no problem! She said she wanted dessert and that’s why she ate it. My son, the tuna eater, was the one who gave me a hard time! I believe there was too much “green” for his liking but he did end up EVENTUALLY eating all of his dinner. This was a tasty take on the classic tuna casserole.
Italian Tuna Casserole
Recipe adapted from cookbook Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped kale, defrosted and squeezed to drain excess water
1 pound short-cut pasta
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), once around the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 6-ounce cans white tuna in water, drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1. Spray a 2 quart or 9×13′ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil cook pasta as directed on the package. Drain and set aside.
3. While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the EVOO, then melt the butter into the oil. When the butter melts, add the onions and garlic and cook until tender approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the
flour around the pan and cook for a minute. Whisk in the wine and then the stock. Then whisk in the milk and bring mixture to a bubble. Reduce the heat to low. Season the sauce with the hot sauce and mustard, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken, then add the kale, separating it as you add it to the sauce. Add the tuna, flaking as you go, then stir to combine. Heat the kale and tuna through for a minute. Add the cooked pasta and mix with the sauce. Pour the tuna and pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
4. Preheat the broiler.
5. Place the casserole under the broiler for 2 minutes to brown the edges and the cheese.