Grown Up Tuna Noodle Casserole

While I was growing up, we would have tuna noodle casserole (TNC) only when my Dad was out of town on business. One of the main ingredients in the recipe was canned tuna. My Dad detested tuna in a can 35 years ago, and he still detests it to this day.

When I began making TNC for my own family, I realized why my Mom would make it for us. It was a hearty, inexpensive meal that could be whipped up in a matter of minutes. She even made us the fancy version with crushed potato chips on top. I liked TNC night when I was a little kid. But tonight, I felt it was time to update the recipe. Introducing Grown Up Tuna Noodle Casserole.

The sauce in the original recipe is basically a can of cream of mushroom soup mixed with some milk. My new recipe has a white wine-based sauce with loads of fresh mushrooms and onions. A handful of chopped parsley also brightens up the sauce. I kept some of the original ingredients - canned tuna (sorry Dad) and frozen peas. Some of the canned tunas are actually very good, and I like frozen peas.

My Oldest was overjoyed when I informed her we were having TNC for dinner tonight. "Put in lots and lots of peas, please," she said. It is the least I can do to make her happy. My Middle One and I also enjoyed the lightened up tasting version of TNC.

My Dad is coming for a visit next month. Maybe I can get him to try my Grown Up Tuna Noodle Casserole. And maybe I'll win the lottery.

Grown Up Tuna Noodle Casserole

serves 5

8 ounces of wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
3 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
3 cups mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup clam juice
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
2 cups frozen peas
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans of albacore tuna packed in water, drained

Heat a large saute pan to medium high and melt the butter. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook for 8 - 10 minutes or until softened but not browned. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the wine and cook until it is reduced by half.

Sprinkle the flour over the onion-mushroom mixture and stir to combine with a large spoon. Cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the clam juice and cook for 3 - 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in the milk and half and half. Cook for an additional 2 - 3 minutes. Add the peas and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the tuna.

In a large bowl, toss the tuna sauce with the noodles. Serve in shallow bowls sprinkled with a little more parsley.

Note - this dish can be made ahead and reheated at dinner time.


That Girl said...

This looks like the kind of dish my dad would have had growing up and something my mom never made for us kids!

Peter M said...

Luv it, I'm a big fan of mushrooms and seafood!

Beth (jamandcream) said...

This loks like my kind of dish. Hubby and daughter both love tuna too. What is half and half (I live in UK)

Jen said...

I love tuna noodle casserole, in any form and the looks lovely. Yum!

Michele said...

Your casserole looks delicious. But I still have a mental block when it comes to tuna noodle casserole. I think it is because growing up my mother made it 2 or 3 times a week. I'd be willing to try yours though! :-)

kat said...

I've always loved the classic version & yours looks like such a wonderful grown up take on it

Anonymous said...

Do you think I could use the water from the tuna instead of the clam juice? It would save me one more thing to buy at the store!

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

This looks like a "to try soon". I'm trying to get in some more hearty and inexpensive dishes that taste good and this one has that written all over it. One thing I saw on Good Eats/Alton Brown. He did a taste test and scientific study (natch) on prepackaged tuna. He says try the stuff in the pouches. He says its way better. I haven't yet (gotta use up the cans) but intend to do so at some point.

amycaseycooks said...

allaboutgrowingup - I would substitute chicken broth instead. It will be just as good.

lisa - thanks for the tip. I haven't tried the pouches yet either.

Anonymous said...


I didn't make it last night. My boyfriend had a serious craving for some Mexican so we went out instead. But when we got back and I showed it to him he went "YES! Make that!" So it will definitely be the next thing I make!

Sophie said...

This is my first time here but I love your savory recipes. This tuna dish caught my eye because my mom used to make this all the time when I was growing up and have always been to scared to make it myself. I, too, love it with many peas! The more the better, your daughter is right. Lovely blog! Sounds like you had fun at the Martha show, too! :) Nice meeting you.


Aggie said...

I love this version of TNC! I'll admit that I've never made it for my family, but I'm definately going to try this out! Sounds delicious!

Janine said...

This looks delicious and affordable, even better. I'm a Jersey girl to but from South Jersey:)


Unknown said...

Beth, Half and Half is Half Cream and half milk. We have here in the US and can be purchased just like milk. When I have visited EU I have to mix my own as it isn't common or found there so far as I have seen. It is typically used in our coffee here.

Good luck.