Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Renaissance of Tuna Casserole

When I first moved out on my own many years ago, I had no fucking clue how to cook.  I mostly survived on things like spaghetti with jarred marinara sauce, frozen dinners, and cans of soup.  I also made quite a bit of Tuna Helper (I know, I know).

I don't know why, but I've always liked Tuna Helper meals.  I would never say that they're amazing or anything, but they're filling and come in a wide variety of flavors (which is really important when you don't know how to throw a meal together without using something prepackaged).  I haven't eaten Tuna Helper in a long time (mostly because I've been trying to cook more things myself), but the meal I'll be sharing with you today kind of reminded me of Tuna Helper ... Really good, really fancy Tuna Helper.

If you're not a fan of tuna casserole or Tuna Helper, this meal may not be for you.  I know that tuna isn't everyone's favorite thing.  If, however, you like pasta with great flavor and can stomach the idea of cooked canned tuna, I'd recommend at least giving this recipe a try.  Trust me ... It has a much more sophisticated flavor than any box of Tuna Helper ever will!

I was really proud of this picture because it didn't require much editing.  I guess sometimes iPhones can take pretty great pictures!

Renaissance of Tuna Casserole

Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Taste and Tell.

Ingredient List:
  • 1 box fettuccine
  • 1 12 oz. can chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic (or, if you're lazy like me, the equivalent of jarred, pre-minced garlic)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced (My sun-dried tomatoes came from a pouch.  You'll want to make sure you don't use tomatoes packed in oil for this recipe.)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 10.8 oz. bag frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2.  Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Cook according to package directions until al dente and drain.

3.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

4.  Add the tuna, sun-dried tomatoes, Mrs. Dash Italian Medley, oregano, basil, and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Pour in the white wine, turn the heat up to medium high, and allow the mixture to cook for approximately 3 minutes.

6.  Turn the heat down to medium low and add the heavy cream, peas, sea salt, and black pepper.  Allow the sauce to cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Don't worry if it looks really soupy at this point.  The sauce will thicken a little as it cooks, but it will still be somewhat runny.  This won't matter once it's tossed with the pasta and cheese, though, I promise!)

7.  Sprinkle the sauce with the cheese, and stir to combine.

8.  Toss the sauce with the pasta until evenly coated.

I know that tuna meals aren't for everyone, but this was exceptionally good.  The sauce was simple but flavorful, and the recipe was pretty quick and easy to throw together (even on a busy weeknight).  I served this with a side of mixed steamed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower).