Retro Recipe: Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch

March 11, 2012

Tuna noodle casserole was a household name in the 1950's. Canned tuna would be mixed with egg noodles, peas, cream of mushroom soup, and topped fried onions.  This recipe has all those nostalgic flavors but without the use of convenience foods. Celery and mushrooms are sauteed until tender and flour and milk are added to make a roux, a thickening agent for sauces.  Frozen peas, canned tuna, and cooked egg noodles are added and the mixture is placed into a baking dish and topped with breadcrumbs.  Tuna noodle casserole is a blast from past but still comforting to eat as ever.

Tuna Noodle Casserole


2 tablespoons butter, divided
Nonstick cooking spray as needed
1/4 cup minced onion
1 cup sliced celery
1/4 pound mushrooms sliced
1/4 cup flour
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
1/4 pound medium egg noodles
12 1/2 ounces can tuna packed in water, drained
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-inch round baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.
Spray a saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion and celery and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 2 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the flour until blended. Gradually blend in a little milk and stir until the mixture looks smooth. Stir in the remaining milk and half-and-half. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the peas. Season with the salt and pepper.
Cook the noodles in boiling salted water until they are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain.
Spread 1/3 of the drained noodles evenly across the baking dish. Arrange 1/2 of the drained tuna over the noodles, then pour 1/3 of the sauce over the top, spreading to the edges. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining noodles and sauce.
Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the bread crumbs and stir until the bread crumbs begin to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the bread crumbs over the top of the casserole. Bake until the casserole is hot through the center, 30 to 35 minutes.

Image Sources: