Tuna Noodle Casserole

We were running errands, and I was asking Rich what he had a taste for for dinner that night.

His answer totally surprised me.

“Tuna noodle casserole.” He said.

“With peas.”

The thing is, he loves peas, just not when they are touching other foods, so this was kindofa big deal.

“Hmmm.” I said.

“I think we can make that work.”

As it happened, I had some home canned tuna with jalapeño from friends in Washington state, a box of our new fave chickpea pasta in the pantry, and the rest of the needed ingredients on hand; we were good to go!

•8 oz pasta
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1/2 cup onion, diced
•1/3 cup carrot, chopped
•2 tbsp flour
•2 cups milk
•3/4 cup heavy cream
•4 oz cream cheese, softened
•2 tbsp good mustard (like this one)
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 cup frozen peas, thawed
•1/4 cup grated Parmesan
•1/4 cup grated Mozzarella
•Tuna, drained (2 cans or 1, 16 oz jar)
•Panko crumbs (I used gluten free)

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: for a truly gluten free casserole, substitute two tablespoons sweet rice flour for the regular flour.

Another note: if you’re using chickpea pasta, pay attention to the warning on the package to “expect foam.” There will be a heckofa lot of it; so use your biggest, tallest pot.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, skipping any added salt and oil. Drain and set aside.

Heat your broiler.

Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add the onion and carrot and cook for six minutes, until the onion is translucent and the carrot almost tender.

Sprinkle the flour over the onion and carrot, and cook for one minute more, stirring until the flour is slightly golden.

Slowly stir in the milk with a whisk; stirring constantly until the roux has thickened a bit, another five minutes or so.

Add the cream cheese, mustard, Sherry Peppers Sauce, salt and peppers; stirring until the cheese has melted into the sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the noodles, peas, Parmesan cheese, and the tuna until nicely mixed.

Transfer the tuna noodle mixture to a lightly oiled casserole – this 2-1/2 quart rectangular casserole worked a treat.

Sprinkle the grated Mozzarella over the top of the casserole, then pop under the broiler for three minutes.

Sprinkle Panko crumbs over the top, then pop back under the broiler for two minutes more.

Remove from the broiler, loosely cover, and let rest for ten minutes before serving.

Tasty tuna noodle casserole! And mostly gluten free, so there’s an added bonus!

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