Wednesday, April 9, 2014

TUNA CASSEROLE SHELLS RECIPE

Tuna Casserole Shells
Here is something we've been cooking for a couple of years.  I believe the original recipe came from Everyday Foods (the Martha Stewart magazine) but I'm not 100% sure.  I know some people don't like tuna casserole, or it hearkens back to an older time of generic old casseroles.  I guess you could call this an updated twist on it.


First, boil a box of jumbo shells pasta.  Don't cook it all the way until done, you want to par boil it.  The box that we used said 12 minutes, so we cooked it for about 8 minutes.  Drain them and set aside (spread them out on a plate or they will stick together).





In a blender/food processor, blend together the bread, parmesan cheese, and seasonings.






Whizz it up until in resembles a fine crumb.  Divide the mixture in half.




Sauté diced up onion in olive oil until translucent, about 7 minutes.




Add flour to sautéed onions and cook about 2 minutes longer.




Slowly pour in 4 cups of milk and bring to a boil.  Cook until it starts to thicken a bit, you are basically making a sort of béchamel sauce.  Let it cool a bit and divide in half.



Mix together 2 cans of drained tuna, thawed and drained chopped spinach, half of the bread crumb  cheese mixture and half of the milk and onion sauce.  








Stuff the shells with a tablespoon or two of the tuna mixture.  Different shells hold different amounts, just stuff them as much as you think looks good.  This is the most time consuming process.




Pour the remaining milk and onion sauce over the top of the stuffed shells.




Finally, over the top of all of that, pour the remainder of the bread crumb mixture.






Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until browned, bubbly and looking good.

And here it is dished up, with a side salad.  It's really good, and certainly a worthy 21st successor to the ubiquitous tuna casserole.

INGREDIENTS:

4 TBSP olive oil
1 package (8 oz) of jumbo pasta shells
1 medium onion, diced
4 cups milk
2 cans white albacore tuna in water, drained
1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and WELL drained
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 hamburger bun or 4 slices of white bread
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning blend

See above photos for instructions. 



22 comments:

  1. That doesn't look like my grandma's tuna casserole! I will try this with gluten free pasta. It looks so yummy!

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  2. Oh my! That looks delicious!!! I'm going to add that to our menu rotation and give it a try. Thanks!!

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    1. Well thank you. Hope you give it a try.

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  3. You're a fancy guy. Me? I'm easy. One can tuna, some cooked wide egg noodles, a can of mushroom soup + milk to thin, toss in a few frozen or fresh peas, top with crushed potato chips and baked until bubbly. Hey, I've been eating it that way for at least 60 years, LOL! That's the way my mother made it.

    I do admit yours looks, and I'm sure tastes, better.

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    1. I wouldn't say it tastes better, I have to admit I am a sucker for just good old fashioned tuna casserole. In fact anything with the word casserole in the title, ha.

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  4. 1st Man,

    This is a different version of the tuna noodle casserole, and it looks really good.

    Thank you for sharing!!!

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    1. Definitely different but very tasty. A bit of work assembling the shells but it's worth the outcome. thank YOU!

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  5. these look really good and i bet i would actually like them. but somehow, i just can't get past that awful memory of the tuna noodle casseroles i was fed as a child. i am scarred for life!

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    1. LOL! I understand. You know I was thinking about this today, talking with one of my foodie coworkers and she's going to try it using all the same stuff except switching out the tuna with rotisserie chicken shredded up. Should work fine. :-)

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  6. Made a lot of tuna casseroles, but never like this. I have not made one in years, probably burnt out on them. This one looks so good I am going to have to make it. I like green peas, but I think the spinach dresses it up. Plus I like spinach. Kale would probably be good too, and I have kale in the freezer from last years garden.

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    1. I love peas too. The spinach was different for us but it really did make it different from regular. But in a good way. Kale would work, I don't see why not.

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  7. Love your upscale take on TNC. Making a bechemel sauce is so simple & such an improvement over condensed soup. I like the addition of spinach for the color as well as the nutritional value. I think most adults & kids would love your version of an old favorite. This recipe would also be delicious if finely diced cooked chicken was substituted for the tuna and a minced clove of garlic was sauteed with the onion. Thank you for reminding me that everything old can be made new again with a little thinking outside the box.

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    1. The béchamel was a brilliant change. Oh my I just mentioned above that my coworker is going to try it with chicken. Yummy. Thanks for your kind words!

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  8. Oh my, I have just had breakfast but now I want dinner!!! I know what will be in my shopping trolley next time I go shopping. Thanks.

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    1. LOL, glad we could make you hungry, ha.

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  9. This looks good & I might have to try it.
    How big sre your tins of tuna?

    Raining here again!

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    1. They are about 5 or 6 ounces in each can. They are the standard size tuna cans. Hope you try it sometime. Like I said earlier, a bit of extra work but very good in the end. :-)

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  10. Wow, that looks so good. I love anything pasta and cheesy!! Definitely might try this sooner rather than later.

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    1. Definitely lots of pasta (love pasta here too). Hope you try it as well!

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  11. I made a tuna casserole when we were first married 40 years ago and my husband hated it. Haven't made it since. He doesn't like the fishy taste though he will eat tuna salad sandwiches. I may try this without telling him what it is. No that wouldn't be fair. Just read the other comments and maybe with chicken would work.

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  12. Ooh! I love tuna casserole and had never thought of doing it this way.......great recipe! I can't wait to try it....and thank you for making it with a béchamel sauce instead of that horrid canned soup....such a huge difference in flavor when it's made with the homemade cream sauce....I even add the liquid from the tuna can to my sauce...it really enhances the flavor.....:)

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