Having spent a bunch of years being vegan, vegetarian, and the like, and having a mother who stopped cooking when I was in high school in favor of Thai take out (and my own lentil loafs, “macaroni and no-cheese,” etc.) I had managed to live 27 years without ever eating tuna casserole. Yesterday, out of curiosity and a fascination with easy dinners that last for days, I decided to make it.
I don’t love that it involves so many ingredients that come out of cans, but then again, that’s part of its charm. We had plenty of cans of stuff lying around, because, you know, just in case. We’ve been reading a lot of apocalyptic fiction and non-fiction around here, so let’s just say we’re prepared for any eventuality. As long as that eventuality calls on us to subsist on canned food for a few weeks.
I don’t know why I don’t ever make casseroles (I make enchiladas, but that doesn’t really count). This one is easy, fairly cheap, and definitely resembles comfort food, though I’m sure my version, with its crimini mushrooms, pine nuts and whole wheat pasta fails the authenticity test. Without further ado:
- 1 lb Whole Wheat pasta (I used rotini, I think)
- 10 oz tuna fish, in water
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can cream of celery soup
- 10-15 crimini mushrooms
- A couple of shallots, or a small yellow onion
- cheese to sprinkle on top (I used Colby but some kind of dry Parmesan-type cheese would be awesome)
- a sprinle of oregano, sage, and whatever you like (fresh herbs if you’re feeling fancy)
- olive oil
- pine nuts (totally optional, as they kinda ruin the ‘budget’ aspect of this recipe – I had them lying around)
- 1/2 cup milk (I used soy)
Cook the pasta according to the instructions. Saute the shallots and mushrooms with the herbs in few tablespoons olive oil for about ten minutes. Turn off the heat and add the soups, tuna and milk to the saute pan and mix them together. Drain the pasta and place in a casserole dish. Add the mixture from the saute pan and stir it around a bit. Sprinkle with cheese and pine nuts. Eat for the next few days, or until you get sick of it. If you have dogs, make it without the onion/shallot and you can feed it to your pups if you get tired of eating it. There’s also always the freezer!