My father and I have been reminiscing lately about my mom’s tuna casserole, the one she used to make in the 60s, with cream of mushroom soup, broccoli, lots of cheese, and a crushed potato chip topping. Mom has only the vaguest recollection of a tuna casserole (“I think it had broccoli in it.”) In fact, today she said she had no memory of it at all. Did she really make it? Or are dad and I remembering something instead from a school cafeteria?
In any case, I attempted to reproduce it for today’s lunch, in honor of the weekend and long forgotten family traditions. Entering our pantry for the first time in 20 years was a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (really must use this one, no other will do.) Also, I used Kettle potato chips – very good quality. The verdict? Yep, it’s definitely tuna casserole – filling, cheesy, crunchy topping, not too tuna-y. I haven’t had this in years, decades probably. The visiting picky eater kids (okay, not that picky, thank God) had three servings. This is a good sign.
- 12 ounces wide egg noodles
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 cups chopped broccoli (about 1/2 lb)
- 2 (6-ounce) cans tuna, drained
- 1 (10 3/4 oz)can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
- 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 Tbsp cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup crushed potato chips
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large (6 qt) pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt. Return to a boil. Add noodles. Cook uncovered on high heat on a rolling boil. Just before pasta is al dente, (firm but cooked through, earliest cooking time minus 2 minutes), add the chopped broccoli to the pasta and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
2 While the pasta is cooking, dry sauté the mushrooms in a frying pan on medium high heat (no need to add butter or oil, mushrooms will cook in their own juice). When mushrooms have given up their moisture (about 10 minutes), remove from heat and set aside.
3 After the pasta is done and is draining in a colander, heat a large oven-proof pan on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onions and cook them until translucent. Add the pasta and broccoli mixture back into the pot; stir in the mushrooms. Stir in the tuna, can of cream of mushroom soup, grated cheese, milk and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4 Spread crushed potato chips over the top of the mixture and cook for 20 minutes at 400°F in the oven, until the topping has browned.