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Mom’s Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

As a kid, you couldn’t get me near a tuna salad sandwich. I proclaimed that I hated tuna and I vehemently refused to eat it. Unless it was in this casserole, that is. Paired with some sweet green peas and tender egg noodles in a creamy sauce and a crispy-crunchy breadcrumb topping, tuna suddenly didn’t seem so bad. In fact, it’s the key component in an absolute comfort classic, and this recipe remains the best version of it I’ve ever had.

See, it has everything you could want from a casserole – comforting pasta, a savory and creamy sauce with just enough cheesiness, and the delicate crunch of a flavorful breadcrumb topping to set it all off.

It starts with celery and onions that are sauteed until they’re fragrant and soft…

…and then combined with the tuna, egg noodles, peas, some cheddar cheese, and fresh parsley. The creamy nature of this bake is thanks to some cream of mushroom soup, which is often sneered at but certainly has its place. And that place is here.

Most of us probably had tuna noodle casserole more than a time or two growing up, and we all know nobody makes it quite like Mom does, but I can promise you this version is as creamy and comforting and delicious as you could hope it to be.

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

35 minutes to prepare serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 cups egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas
  • 2 (6 oz each) cans tuna, drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • For the topping:
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Boil noodles 2 minutes less than package directions call for. Drain and rinse. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add onion and celery and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together noodles, onions and celery, peas, soup, milk, 1 cup cheese, tuna, and parsley. Spread into prepared baking dish.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, melted butter, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
  6. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over casserole and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving and garnish with fresh parsley, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Kylee Cooks.

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