Thursday, April 29, 2010
Italian Tuna Casserole (from RACHAEL RAY EXPRESS LANE MEALS)
Tuna casserole was a classic back in the day when I was a kid. I'm bringing it back-Mediterranean style!
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach
1 pound medium or large shell pasta or other short-cut pasta with ridges
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), once around the pan
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine, a couple of glugs
1 cup chicken stock (eyeball about 1/4 of a quart-size box-the rest can go right in the fridge)
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
1 teaspoon hot sauce (eyeball it)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 6-ounce cans white tuna in water, drained, or 3 4-ounce cans Italian tuna in oil, drained
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, 3 very generous handfuls
A handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Place the spinach on a plate and microwave it for 6 minutes on high to defrost it. Place it in a clean kitchen towel and wring it dry, then reserve.
While the spinach is defrosting, get a large pot of water on the stove for the pasta. Bring to a boil, then salt the water liberally and cook the shells to al dente.
While the pasta works, heat a deep, large skillet over medium heat. Add the EVOO, then melt the butter into the oil. When the butter melts, add the onions and garlic and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the
flour around the pan and cook for a minute, then whisk in the wine-it will cook off and the mixture will thicken almost immediately. Whisk in the stock, then whisk in the milk and bring it to a bubble. Reduce the heat a bit. Season the sauce with the nutmeg, hot sauce, and mustard, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken, then add the spinach, separating it as you add it to the sauce.
Preheat the broiler.
Back to the sauce: add the tuna, flaking it as you go, then stir to combine. Heat the spinach and tuna through for a minute or so. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Transfer the tuna to a casserole dish and cover
it with the Parm or Romano. Place the casserole under the broiler for 2 minutes to brown the edges and the cheese. Top with the parsley and serve.