RECIPE #238, DAY #304
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Tuna Mac” from Arevalo’s and Wade’s Mac + Cheese*
TIMING: 30 minutes
DIFFICULTY: Easy enough
TOOLS: Nothing beyond the basic kitchen things
COOK TYPE: Stovetop
HEALTH: Well, I was hoping that the tuna and the veggies would save this indulgent childhood staple, but it just came out so rich. It felt bad for you. Then again, I ended up changing the recipe to drastically increase the tuna and veg so that it comes much closer to Midwestern Tuna Noodle Casserole. Which means it’s still fatty and made-from-pasta, but also a little good for you.
EXPERIENCE: If I hadn’t grown up on Tuna Noodle Casserole, I probably wouldn’t love it. Then again, my favorite way to spruce up a box of mac ‘n’ cheese is to stir in some tuna and peas, and that habit, I have come by in my adulthood. I love tuna, any way you shake it. (Caveat: I love good, albacore tuna, any way you shake it.)
I was surprised at how ridiculously rich this recipe came out. It was very cheesy, and I suppose that the cheese was a good pairing for the tuna, but I really would have liked it to feel a little more well-rounded. So I have made some changes for you.
You still may want to serve it with a spinach salad, or something redemptive like that.
NOTES: This made more than our family of 4 could eat.
If you want it to really feel like a riff on mac ‘n’ cheese, stick with macaroni noodles, and you could also sub cheddar for the Havarti.
- Cook 8 ounces egg noodles or other fun pasta (like farfalle) in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a small-medium mixing bowl, combine 15 ounces drained albacore tuna, 1/4 cup minced white onion, 3 stalks diced celery, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt 1/3 cup unsalted butter over medium heat. Whisk in 1/3 cup all purpose flour and cook for 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, and a pinch of nutmeg. Then whisk in 2 cups milk until sauce has thickened.
- To the sauce, add 1 1/2 cups grated Havarti and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Next, add the tuna salad and 1 1/2 cups frozen peas. Stir until it has warmed through. Add the pasta and remove from heat.
- Serve in bowls, topped with crushed potato chips.
Serve with a green salad or another green veggie. Some sweet tea would round it out.
*Recipe has been changed from the original.