This is not your Mother's Tuna Casserole!
This recipe is an update on an old weeknight, 'what's in the pantry', quick-dinner. You can also substitute the tuna with cooked shredded chicken, just omit the dill. And instead of bowtie pasta you can use medium shell pasta (goes with the "fish" theme).
I like to make big portions for the next day left-overs, that way I only have to cook dinner every other night (and it saves $). This recipe fills a 9x13 pan, and serves about 10.
1 lb. bowtie pasta (or medium shell pasta)
2 generous pinches of kosher salt for the pasta water
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-medium white onion, minced (finely chopped).
2-large celery stalks, minced
2-10 3/4 cans of cream of celery soup
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup real mayo (like Best Foods)
1 tablespoon grey poupon dijon mustard
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-12oz. cans solid white tuna packed in water; drained.
Opt. 1 cup of frozen peas
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
plus 1/4 cup of grated parmesan (save the 1/4 cup of parmesan for mixing with Ritz topping).
1 cylinder package of Ritz crackers
4 tablespoons butter
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
- In a large pot; boil pasta, in salted water just before it's 'al dente'- (about 9 minutes)-you don't want your pasta over cooked because you still have more time to cook it in the oven.
- Drain pasta and set aside.
- Using the same pot you boiled the pasta in, heat olive oil and sauté minced celery and onion on medium high heat. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper cook until vegetables are softened. Remove from heat.
- Add to the cooked onion & celery in pot; the pasta and all other ingredients except for the reserved 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, Ritz crackers and butter; mix together gently.
- Pour mixture into a buttered or non-stick sprayed 9x13 glass dish.
- Open the cylinder of Ritz crackers and place into a large zip-lock plastic bag; crush finely with a rolling pin or hands. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in microwave; add it to the crushed Ritz in bag as well as the 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, mix with the crushed Ritz.
- Spread the Ritz mixture evenly over the top of tuna mixture and bake covered with tinfoil in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until heated through; uncover and cook another 10 minutes, or until Ritz topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.