Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole

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Tuna casserole is a classic comfort food dish that has been a staple in many households for decades. The dish is a simple yet delicious combination of canned tuna, noodles, and a creamy sauce. In this article, we will explore the history of the dish, its nutritional value, and how to make the perfect Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole.

1. What is Tuna Casserole?

Tuna casserole is a dish made with canned tuna, pasta or rice, vegetables, and a creamy sauce. It is typically baked in the oven, and often topped with breadcrumbs or cheese. The dish is a popular comfort food in the United States and is known for its simplicity and affordability.

2. The History of Tuna Casserole

Tuna casserole became popular in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, during the rise of canned foods and convenience cooking. The dish was easy to prepare, required few ingredients, and could feed a large family on a budget. In the years since, tuna casserole has remained a popular dish, and many families have their own variations of the recipe.

3. Nutritional Value of Tuna Casserole

Tuna casserole is a hearty dish that can be a good source of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Nonetheless, its high caloric, fat, and sodium content requires it to be consumed in moderation. To make the dish healthier, consider using low-fat dairy products, whole-grain pasta, and fresh vegetables.

4. Ingredients for Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole

  • 1 lb. egg noodles
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Use two cans (6 oz. each) of solid white tuna, drained and separated into small flakes.
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

5. Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare the egg noodles by following the instructions printed on the packaging. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat the butter in a large saucepan on medium flame until it melts.  Incorporate the flour into the mixture and stir vigorously until it becomes lump-free.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk continuously while cooking, until the mixture thickens, typically taking around 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Take the saucepan off the heat and blend the cheddar cheese into the mixture until it melts completely.
  6. Add the cooked noodles, tuna, and peas to the saucepan and stir to combine.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.

8. Bake the casserole for 25-30 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the casserole is heated through.

  1. Take the casserole out of the oven and allow it to cool for several minutes prior to serving.

6. Tips for Making the Perfect Tuna Casserole

  • For the most delectable taste and texture, opt for canned tuna of excellent quality.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles, as they will continue to cook in the oven.
  • If you prefer a crunchy topping, use panko breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs.
  • Add extra vegetables to the casserole, such as mushrooms, onions, or bell peppers, for added flavor and nutrition.

7. Variations of Tuna Casserole

Tuna casserole is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your preferences. Here are some ideas for variations:

  • Add different types of cheese, such as Parmesan, Gouda, or Swiss.
  • Experiment with a variety of pasta shapes, like macaroni, penne, or fusilli.
  • Add different types of vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, or corn.
  • Incorporate a variety of canned fish into your dish, such as salmon or sardines, to add some diversity to your meal.

8. Serving Suggestions for Tuna Casserole

Tuna casserole is a filling and comforting dish that can be served on its own or with a side salad or bread. Here are some ideas for serving:

  • Serve with a simple green salad dressed with vinaigrette.
  • Offer garlic bread or crunchy French bread alongside for dipping and serving.
  • Accompany the dish with steamed vegetables, like broccoli or green beans.

9. Leftover Tuna Casserole Ideas

If you have leftovers, tuna casserole can be reheated in the microwave or oven. Here are some ideas for using up leftover tuna casserole:

  • Make a tuna casserole sandwich by spreading the leftover casserole on bread and toasting it.
  • Use the leftover casserole as a filling for stuffed peppers or mushrooms.
  • Add the leftover casserole to a salad for added protein and flavor.

10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is it possible to substitute frozen peas with canned peas?

A: Yes, you can use canned peas, but they may be a bit mushy.

Q: Can I use tuna packed in oil instead of water?

A: Yes, you can use tuna packed in oil, but it will add extra calories and fat to the dish.

Q: Is it possible to prepare this recipe in advance?

A: Certainly, you can prepare the casserole in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it.

Q: Can I freeze leftover tuna casserole?

A: Yes, leftover tuna casserole can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Q: Is it acceptable to utilize a different variety of pasta?

A: Yes, you can use any type of pasta you like, but keep in mind that cooking times may vary.

11. Conclusion

Tuna casserole is a classic comfort food dish that is easy to make and perfect for feeding a crowd. By following the step-by-step instructions for Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole, you can make a delicious and satisfying meal that is sure to please. Whether you enjoy it on its own or with a side salad or bread, tuna casserole is a timeless dish that will always be a favorite.

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