Tuna Noodle Casserole

March 17th, 2013

While going through my file of old recipes, I found the tuna noodle casserole that was so popular years ago.  We all had that recipe and it included cream of mushroom soup.  I rarely ever use cream of mushroom soup anymore.  So I decided to try and update the recipe with fresher ingredients.  A trip to Costco had yielded some nice cans of Italian tuna packed in olive oil.  I think tuna packed in olive oil has so much more flavor.  Instead of canned soup I made my own white sauce enhanced with sherry.  The recipe is one that I adapted from Epicurious.

I used fewer egg noodles than what was called for in the old recipe.  Too much pasta tends to absorb the sauce, resulting in a dry casserole.  The topping could have been breadcrumbs or potato chips (Yikes!), but I am partial to Ritz crackers.  Most of the recipes also have a sprinkling of cheese on top.  I have included it in the printed recipe, but did not use it.  To my thinking fish and cheese do not go together.

Although the casserole required cleaning up several pans,  I felt it was worth the effort to freshen up an old classic.  I am having fun with my retro recipes.  I still want to post my classic Texas Pecan Torte, but will wait until a time when we have someone with whom to share it.  We can’t afford the calories right now.


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 8 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sherry
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (6-oz) cans tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 8 oz dried medium egg noodles
  • 2/3 of a sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 4 oz coarsely grated Cheddar (1 cup) optional
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Cook onion in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with a pinch of salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and add mushrooms, then sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to give off liquid, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce and continue to sauté mushrooms, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Sherry and boil, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. Remove from heat.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and whisk in flour, then cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add broth in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking. Whisk in milk and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture, lemon juice, peas and salt. Flake tuna into sauce and stir gently. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Cook noodles in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain noodles in a colander and return to pot. Add sauce and stir gently to combine. Transfer mixture to baking dish, spreading evenly.

Toss together cracker crumbs and cheese in a bowl. Drizzle with oil or melted butter and toss again, then sprinkle evenly over casserole. Bake until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes.

Printable recipe

9 responses to “Tuna Noodle Casserole”

  1. Penny says:

    That looks good! I NEVER liked Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup, so I never like tuna casserole back in the day. Never liked the tradition green bean casserole at Thanksgiving either because of the canned mushroom soup. You updated recipe sounds great Penny!

  2. lindaraxa says:

    I am going to have to try this one. I agree with you about the potato chips. Although my daughter begged me to keep the potato chips, I think Ritz or Panko is the way to go.

  3. Sam Hoffer says:

    It’s such fun to see old recipes updated. This is one of Meakin’s favorites. If he sees this, he’ll beg for it. 🙂

  4. larry says:

    That sure is a lot of ingredients for an ole tuna casserole :-). Actually, it sounds delicious and definitely several notches above the basic I’m used to. I asked Bev if we’ve had tuna casserole in our 28 year married life and she said we had, but I’m sure it’s been a long time – I don’t know why as I really enjoy it.

  5. KathyWalker says:

    I remember my mom making this and I did too, when I first got married…I was thinking about how it might be updated and you have done it! Sounds tasty….I’m with you, no cheese, please!

  6. Kate Zeller says:

    I love sherry in white sauces… and retro food. I just did a post on Green Bean Casserole… Great minds and all. LOL

  7. Eileen says:

    I have always stayed away from making tuna casserole ~ the old recipes just never sounded any good to me. Now that you have developed a recipe, and it looks delicious, I may give it a go. 🙂

  8. Susan says:

    I so agree with you and fish and cheese not being a good combination! I haven’t had a tuna casserole in ages and now my mouth is watering for yours. I’m going to look for that tuna on my next trip to Costco and make this as a treat one day soon 🙂

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