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Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cheddar & Chives





Ingredients:

4 cups medium shell pasta

4 T. butter, plus a little for greasing the pan

4 T. flour

2 cups milk

4½ oz. grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1 tsp. salt, plus additional for water

Pinch of cayenne pepper

8 oz tuna, packed in oil (or water), drained

⅓ cup chopped chives


Makes 6-8 servings

Preparation:


Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 3-quart, 2-inch-deep baking dish.

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water generously before pouring in the shells and cook them for a minute less than the package instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside.


Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue cooking the mixture for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk and cook the sauce until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 ounces of the cheese, 1 tsp. of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper.


In a large bowl, toss together the drained tuna, chives, pasta and two-thirds of the sauce. Scoop the mixture into the prepared dish and ladle the remaining third of the sauce over the top of the noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ ounce of cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and then broil for a minute or two until the surface is toasty brown in spots.

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