I made this for Tony, although I secretly wanted it too. It was fun making a classic without one of the usual ingredients, a can of cream of something soup.
1-2 T EVOO
1 small Onion - finely diced
1 Leek - sliced and cleaned
1/4 Red Bell Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic - diced
Hot Sauce (I used chili garlic sauce) - to taste
3 T Butter
1/4 cup Flour
3 cups Milk
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Zest from Lemon
1 cup of Peas - steamed for one minute
small palm full of Dried Parsley
small palm full of Capers
2 6oz cans of Tuna - drained
10oz Dry Noodles or Pasta (I used Mafalada)
Pot of Boiling Water - heavily salted
about 1 1/2 cups of Cheese - separated (I used Sharpe Cheddar and Parmesan) - shredded or shaved
about a 1/4 cup of Panko Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 400°.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, and peppers.
Add garlic to the pan.
Season with salt and hot sauce.
Cook, stirring occasionally till the onions are clear. Then, remove them from the pan and set aside.
Put the pasta/noodles in the salted boiling water and cook for half of the recommended time. Then, drain them and toss with a little EVOO or butter. Put the noodles in a greased casserole dish.
Make a roux in the pan that you removed the veggies from. To do this, lower the heat to med-low. Add butter and flour to the pan. With a whisk or wooden spoon stir the roux the entire time it cooks, so that the flour doesn't burn. Do this for a few minutes. If the heat is too high, turn it down. You're looking for a light colored (medium blond) roux.
Stir in three cups of milk.
Use your whisk or spoon to loosen all of the bits from the sides of the pan.
Add white pepper, lemon juice and zest, peas, parsley and capers. Stir.
Mix the sautéed veggies back into the pan.
Stir in the tuna.
Mix half a cup of cheese with the noodles.
Pour all of the tuna mixture evenly over the noodles.
In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the cheese with the bread crumbs.
Top the noodles with the cheese and crumbs.
Place a lid on the casserole, or cover it with foil and put it in the oven. Bake till the sauce is bubbly. Little hot spots will pop up through the crumbs. Then, remove the lid and bake a few more minutes. Till the top browns to your liking, or till it's golden brown.
Serve this tasty dish alone or with a salad and crusty bread.
Tony liked the casserole (hotdish for you Midwesterners).
He went back for seconds!