Friday, January 13, 2012
A New Tuna Casserole
Janet here: I know tuna cassroles are staples in many households and a go-to meal for a busy weeknight but I don't think I made one while my kids lived at home. The reason is simple: the word tuna.
I made a mistake as a parent I would suggest anyone reading this with young kids avoid: for a while — and waaaaayyy longer than I should have — I made separate meals for certain kids who did not like (maybe even refused to put one bite in his mouth) of the general dinner. On a given night that could mean I made four dinners. I know, I know, I know! This is CRAZY and goes against every parenting book out there. I took the path of least resistance, what can I tell you? (And I know I'm not the only one out there.)
Anyway one night, as I surveyed what was going on at the dinner table, I suddenly woke up from this nightmare and said to myself, This is going to stop. Right. Now.
The break was not happily met but as I've mentioned at various other junctures in our children's lives, this perceived grievance (not being able to have a friend over on a school night, not being their personal short order cook, not buying the latest gadget EVERYONE BUT THEM had, are all found in the latest edition of the Parents' Torture Book, which every parent receives at the hospital upon the birth of their child and they can look forward to getting their own copy one day. I also at various points may have said something like, "Well now you have something to talk to your therapist about.")
Anyway, the point is I never went down the tuna road. Since I was making one meal I did try to come up with something that would please the lowest common denominator. I probably batted 50-50 there. Thank God for cereal and peanut butter and jelly. This particular child is now a strapping 6 feet tall.
But if your family is more adventurous or if you've just got a hankering for tuna casserole yourself, this version is a little like warmed salad nicoise. And who wouldn't like that?
Mediterranean Tuna Casserole
inspired by Not Your Mother's Casseroles
10 ounces wide egg noodles
1 pound red potatoes, sliced
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
4 6-ounce cans tuna, drained
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and cut into pieces
3/4 cup capers, drained
1/2 cup sliced black olives
a few hearty shakes of dried parsley
3/4 cups shredded Parmesan
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. Boil a pot of salted water and cook the noodles until al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl. Toss in a little olive oil so they don't clump.
Bring water to a boil again and add potatoes.Blanch for four minutes, drain and return to the pot.
While the noodles and potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir for about five minutes. Then whisk in the milk. Cook for about five minutes, stirring regularly until it thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. '
Mix the egg noodles and potatoes in the pot. Pour sauce over them. Add the tuna, artichoke hearts, capers, olives, scallions,parsley and Parmesan. Salt to taste. Mix it up and place in baking pan. Add a little more Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes