Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Spring Green Tuna Casserole ~ A Gluten Free Tuna Casserole From Scratch!
This is definitely not your mothers tuna casserole. Correct me if I'm wrong, but whenever someone talks about "tuna casserole," the kind mom used to make, they are referring to that weird mid-century concoction consisting of a can of tuna, mixed with a can of mushroom soup, mixed with a bag of egg noodles, topped with crushed potato chips and baked until certain to cause heart failure.
Does that even sound good to anyone? Other than maybe the nostalgia factor, because mom made it?
Now. That being said, OH MY GOSH CASSEROLES ARE SO CONVENIENT. Now I get why moms make them! You can make it a day ahead, it requires limited labor, it can feed an army, you can freeze half of it for dinner another day, it still tastes good as leftovers, and it keeps forever!
Obviously, casseroles and I are like, BFF's forever!
The thing about casseroles is that they can be... how shall we say... a little plain? They could use a little dressing up. They're like the Jane Eyre of food: plain, earnest, hardworking and virtuous, but rather lacking in the glamor department.
The nice thing is, you can dress them up is just about anything! This particular version is uses a lot of spring green vegetables (and tuna), but you can dress is up in whatever is seasonal is available to you. The meat, the cheese, and the vegetables are all interchangeable. It a blank palate for you to color with whatever sounds fresh and delicious to you.
Spring Green Tuna Casserole ~ A Gluten Free Casserole From Scratch
I also use a chedder/gruyere cheese blend I found at Trader Joe's, but any flavorful cheese would be great!
Basic Casserole Ingredients
1 lb brown rice pasta, cooked to al dente and drained
2 medium onions, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (or regular flour, if gluten is not an issue)
salt and pepper
1.5 cups broccoli florets
1 cup peas
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and peeled if very thick
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 cup mascarpone or sour cream
1 packed cup baby spinach
1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
2 cans albacore tuna in oil
1 lb chedder cheese, grated
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven, heat 2 tbs butter. Fry onions garlic, and fennel over medium heat, until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the butter, and increase heat to high. When butter is hot, mix in sweet rice flour, and whisk to combine with butter. Add milk 1 cup at a time, whisking vigorously with each addition. Bring to a boil. If sauce is too thick add more milk, and if it's too thin, more flour. It should have the consistency of a sauce - not too watery or too thick. Whisk in 1/2 the grated cheese, until cheese is melted and becomes part of the sauce.
2. Mix in whatever vegetables you would like, in this case broccoli, peas, baby spinach, parsley. simmer about 5 minutes, until vegetables are bright green and softened.
3. Mix in tuna, artichoke hearts, lemon juice and zest, mascarpone, and cooked noodles. Place in casserole pan, and top with the other half of the grated cheese. Bake in oven until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly, about 20 minutes. Enjoy!