But, it sounds great!
I was born in the 80s, sorry.
I really love tuna a lot, and I especially love cheesy baked pasta dishes.
This has both of those things!
My sister loves those things too, and she made this! She just moved into a sweet new apartment downtown, so she made this while I took pictures and instructed. Now she's basically a Top Chef. These are her pretty hands in the pictures!
This also involves making your own cream of celery soup instead of using a can. It's easy too!
You'll love this, trust me.
Here's what you need:
- 6 servings pasta, cooked (short, whatever kind you like!)
- 1 large rib celery
- 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup milk or half and half
- 1 1/2 cups shredded chedder, monterrey jack, or colby cheese
- 2 (regular size, or 1 family size) cans tuna
- panko bread crumbs
First, make little strips from the celery and chop them up into little bits. While you're doing this, melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan.
Add the celery to the pan with the butter and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Stir the celery around for awhile and let it soften. While it's cooking, chop the tomato and drain the tuna - you'll need them in a minute.
Great! After about 5 minutes, sprinkle the flour over the celery and stir it all together for about a minute to let the flour cook.
Now, get ready for a two-handed sauce-making maneuver. With the whisk in one hand, pour in the stock and milk slowly, whisking the whole time, to make a smooth sauce.
Lovely! Now, let the milk and stock bubble to thicken for a minute or two - turn up the heat if you need to!
Hey, look! You just made your own cream of celery soup. Easy, huh? And, chemical-free, which is always a plus. 🙂
While the soup is thickening, grate the cheese, if you haven't already. Then, stir 1 cup into the celery sauce and save 1/2 cup for topping.
Yum. Stir the cheese in for a minute or two until it's completely melted, then pour all the sauce over the cooked pasta.
Yum! Now, add the tomatoes and drained tuna to the pasta as well, and stir it all together!
YES. I love tuna. Now, taste this! It's really good. Add some more salt and pepper if you want! I don't know, I'm not you.
Once the mixture tastes just like you want it to, pour it into a baking dish and top it with the rest of the cheese and a nice layer of panko.
Now, if you're serving this right away, you can just broil the top since the filling is already warm. If you're serving it in an hour, bake at 350F to keep it warm and brown the top.
OR, you can cover this and stick it in the fridge for a few days until you're ready to eat it, then heat it up in the oven!
However you roll, it should look like this when you're ready to eat it:
Isn't that just....great?
I thought so. Serve this for firsts, seconds, and thirds - you'll love the creamy sauce, salty tuna, sweet tomatoes...it's just perfect!