Tuna Noodle Casserole

Your eyes are not deceiving you--we eat Tuna Noodle Casserole, and we like it. In fact, Flip actually asks for this dish if I haven't made it in awhile. It doesn't quite fit in the "simple" category, but if you've got the time, it makes a satisfying winter meal.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
adapted from The New Best Recipe from the editors of Cook's Illustrated
serves 6-8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
8-ounce package sliced mushrooms, diced
2 tablespoons, margarine or butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock, warmed
salt and pepper to taste
pinch thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley, or 1/4 cup fresh, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
10-12 ounces pasta (I'm partial to those tiny shells, but I use whatever I have in the pantry)
1/2 pound frozen peas
2, 7-ounce foil pouches tuna, packed in water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the frozen peas for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain pasta and peas thoroughly, then place in a large baking dish and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet (non-stick is great if you have it) over medium heat. When oil is hot, saute onions, stirring occasionally, until they being to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their juices and are beginning to brown, 5-8 minutes longer.

When the mushrooms are cooked, melt the margarine in the skillet. When melted, whisk the flour into the onion mix and whisk continuously until the flour turns golden, 1-2 minutes. Continue whisking constantly while gradually add the chicken stock. After all the stock is incorporated, cook until the mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in salt (try a 1/2 teaspoon to begin with and add more if needed), pepper, thyme, parsley, lemon juice, and tuna. 

Pour sauce over pasta and peas. Stir until pasta is completely coated. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

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