A made-from-scratch tuna casserole that’s rich, creamy, sophisticated, loaded with flavor and has a crunchy, cheesy topping that will blow your mind. Simple enough to be served as a weeknight meal and elegant enough to serve to guests. Yes, it’s that good.
When I was a kid learning to cook, making tuna casserole for the family was probably one of my favorite dishes to prepare. Now, I’m not going to lie to you by saying I made it from scratch, because I didn’t. I made it the way my Dad taught me and that was with the canned soup, etc. etc. Although that dish was delicious, I now make everything from scratch. When you taste this dish, it will blow your mind.
How can a tuna casserole blow your mind?
I mean it’s really supposed to be an easy inexpensive dish that, when served, may get an eye roll from the family. This tuna casserole is bombarded with flavor from the garlic, horseradish, clam juice, and white wine which takes it to the next level. There’s plenty of creaminess to this dish due to the ~ you guessed it ~ cream.
I use light tuna packed in olive oil. Light tuna is the only way to go here. Using albacore white tuna makes it tasteless. Save the white tuna for sandwiches.
I then add some grated cheddar to this which makes it even more delicious. But that’s not all. It’s also mixed with the panko topping, making it a home run.
Although almost every tuna casserole recipe out there uses 12 ounces of egg noodles, I use cavatappi. We need a meaty pasta to go with this delicious sauce. The egg noodles are too flimsy.
I also don’t use peas. Save the peas for peas and pancetta. I just don’t see how or why it’s used. If you like them, add them.
You will see I use a red onion here. I found that it adds more flavor and color, especially since the Peruvian side of my family uses it in most of their cooking. If you don’t have a red onion on hand, use what you’ve got. Just make the damn dish so you can see why I love it so much.
Try some of my other pasta dishes:
You may be intimidated by the list of ingredients but don’t be. You’ll be rewarded at the end.
Life is too short for mediocre food.
Have you seen these?
Made From Scratch Tuna CasserolePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 8 ounces cavatelli pasta
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium red onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 4 ounces mushrooms finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 8 ounce bottle clam juice
- ¼ cup white wine
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 5 ounce cans light tuna, drained I use light tuna packed in olive oil
- ¼ cup 2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
- Preheat oven 350 degrees.
- Cook pasta 2 - 3 minutes less than package directions in salted water, drain and set aside. Check how to cook pasta.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over medium high heat, heat oil and add onions. Sauté until translucent and softened - about 5 minutes.
- Stir in minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms release their liquid and soften, about 3 -5 minutes. Stir in the horseradish.
- Stir in flour, granulated garlic, salt and pepper and cook for about 1 minute. It will be dry but don't worry.
- Stir in clam juice, wine and cream. Bring to a simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes to thicken. When it coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat. Taste at this point and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Sitr in the cheese then add tuna. Stir to fully combine.
- Combine sauce with pasta and transfer into a 2 quart baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese and oil or butter until evenly combined.
- Sprinkle topping over the casserole.
- Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly. Let it rest 5 - 10 minutes before serving.
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