Pasta, Pasta – #3 – More Tubular Pasta – Tuna Noodle Casserole
There are actually many types of Tubular Pasta. There is Penne, rigatoni, ziti and more. Penne is my favorite of the Tubular Pasta. Rigatoni are so big that for my taste there is just too much pasta to bite into at one time. Penne are considerably thinner than Rigatoni, but they are still tubular and hold a lot of sauce. One of my favorite uses for Penne is a Tuna Noodle Casserole, one of my husband’s favorite dinners. So, every now and then I will indulge him and make it for dinner. Usually there is leftover so he then can eat it for lunch in the next day or two.
To make a Tuna Noodle Casserole rich in creamy cheese you will need the pasta, 2 cups shredded cheese (your choice, but cheddar or jack is a favorite). I used a blend of Cheddar & Jack. You will also need 2 Tbsps. Butter and Flour and approximately 1 ½ cups of milk. The instructions following will make enough for 3 hearty servings; for a larger amount, just double the ingredients and follow the same instructions. The doubled amount will feed a family of four with leftovers or five to six for one meal.
The pan I used is a stainless steel casserole and is my favorite for just about everything. If you have a large family though you will need a bigger pan and a large oven-proof casserole to put the finished product in.
I also use diced Onion in my casserole for added flavor. Following is the list of ingredients for the smaller dish. For more, just double the given amounts and adjust the cooking equipment to fit the ingredients.
2 cups Penne Pasta
½ cup diced Onion
2 ribs celery, diced
2 Tbsps. unsalted Butter
2 Tbsps. Flour
2 cups Milk
2 cups shredded Cheese
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Salt
½ tsp. ground White Pepper
1 (5 oz.) can Tuna, packed in Water, well drained
2 Green Onions, minced
½ Red Bell Pepper, diced
- Fill a 4 Qt. Saucepan with Water and add at least a teaspoon of Salt; bring to a boil and then add the Pasta. Stir to separate the Pasta and then cook for 11 minutes or until the Pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium skillet or the same pan the pasta was cooked in, melt the Butter and then add the Onion and Celery. Cook until the Onion begins to brown and the Celery is softened.
- Stir in the Butter until a paste forms; slowly add the Milk, stirring constantly.
- Continue cooking until the mixture thickens; add the Mustard, Salt & Pepper.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the Cheese just until it melts. Taste for seasoning. If desired, add a splash of Tabasco® or your favorite Hot Sauce.
5. Flake the Tuna and add it to the Cheese Sauce mixture. ( The Tuna can be doubled if you wish)
6. Add the drained Pasta to the Tuna/Cheese mixture and carefully fold in, making sure all the Pasta is
covered with the Sauce.
7. Transfer the entire mixture to a buttered oven proof casserole; top with the minced Onion and
diced Red Bell Pepper.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until all the ingredients are hot and the top is slightly
Yield: 3-4 large Servings
Note: This is a great dish to make early in the day, refrigerate and then just heat it up before dinner. If you are a working Mother, then you can make it the night before and when you come home, just put it in the oven, make a salad and dinner is ready!