Pasta Week: Tuna Casserole

Pasta Week: Tuna Casserole

Happy Monday! So, this is spring? Um… am I missing something? Like sunshine? Flowers? Sigh. This is an old post that got a snazzy new photo but it’s also one of my favourite comfort foods: Tuna Casserole. I wrote this in January of 2011. Sadly, the description of the cold is still suiting. Oh, well, if it’s gotta be cold, at least we can have casserole! C.M.

It’s cold in Toronto right now. Really, really cold. Like tights under your kid’s jeans and then snow pants kind of cold. Sartre must not have had kids to say that hell is other people. Those of us who live with children know that hell is actually other peoples’s stuff. Hats, mittens (which will NEVER stay on no matter what), scarf, snowsuit, boots… and that’s for one child! Once you’ve covered every frost-bitable surface of the children -which of course makes them whine and complain – and jollied them outside for an activity like sledding or snowman making, you really want to come home to something warm.

And for this we need comfort food. SPC contributor and dear friend Heidi introduced me to this tuna casserole almost a year ago. I’ve made it several times since and have been meaning to post it. But this weekend was a comfort food emergency! It’s a Rachel Ray recipe that I’ve modified a bit in the name of health. But honestly, my nod to health is really just a glance. This one is not going to get you into heaven, except that it’s easy and really delicious.


photo by Maya Visnyei

Tuna Casserole

500 gram package of short whole wheat pasta like penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
3  cups cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
1 leek, cleaned well and sliced thin
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 cans good quality tuna, drained and rinsed (I’ve used 2 when I only had 2 and it was just fine)
1 1/2 cups Gruyere, grated


Turn broiler on to low heat.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add penne noodles and cook until al dente and no more, about 8 minutes.

In a pan with olive oil, sautee mushroom and leeks until they begin to soften, about five minutes.

Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and leeks and stir. Allow to cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in milk and allow to thicken, about 3 to 5 minutes. If the sauce isn’t thickening, inch up the heat just a bit. Stir in mustard and season with salt and pepper after tasting. Add the tuna and frozen peas and thyme.

Once noodles are cooked, drain and add to the vegetables and stir. Turn off the heat. Pour the noodles and vegetables into a casserole. Sprinkle cheese over top and pop into the oven, close to broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and turns brown.

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  1. Natalee
    January 24, 09:25 Reply
    oh gosh your baby is so beautiful. this looks great and I love tuna but usually don;t like canned tuna because the meat is so often mushy. Do you have a brand you recommend?
  2. Ceri Marsh
    January 24, 12:18 Reply
    Well, to make it healthy you want to go with tuna packed in water but the most delicious is Unico packed in oil - soooo good. I did two tins of water packed and one in oil on that day.
  3. margaret
    January 24, 14:51 Reply
    Will try this casserole this week - looks yummy as does my delish grandson!
  4. David
    January 24, 19:21 Reply
    For the good, quality tuna part you should check out Wild Planet's Albacore Tuna. The company follows sustainable practices using the pole and troll method to catch the fish, which eliminates bycatch. They also source smaller tuna from the North Atlantic, which means lower mercury! Great recipe!
  5. irene
    January 25, 06:13 Reply
    do you have an "email this recipe" option that i'm missing? thanks
  6. CarolRenee
    January 25, 15:21 Reply
    How marvelous! Reminds me of my own precious mother, who used to make tuna casserole when I was a child. Yum!
  7. paula
    March 24, 13:58 Reply
    It would be great if you made a practice of mentioning sustainable choices, since many tuna (and fish) options are not the most sustainable. Feeding our children healthily should also include the health of the planet we live on.
  8. Julie
    April 06, 23:45 Reply
    It's late here and for the life of me I don't see where you add the tuna...Help! This sounds great.
  9. Ceri Marsh
    April 07, 16:50 Reply
    Hi Julie, You are completely right - it wasn't there! This is what comes of seven years of sleep deprivation! Thank you so much for pointing it out. I've fixed it now. And now for another cup of coffee... Let me know if you try it! Best, Ceri

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