Tuna Casserole

8 servings. Hands-on: 35 minutes.  Total: 1 hour 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16-oz) package ziti pasta
  • 1 (8-oz) package haricots verts (thin green beans), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
  • 2 (4-oz) packages fresh gourmet mushroom blend
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
  • 6 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12-oz) can solid white tuna in spring water, drained
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or parsley
  • 1/4 cup crushed potato chips
  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Garnish: sliced fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, cook green beans in boiling salted water to cover for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until crisp-tender; drain.  Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain.
  3. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add leeks and saute for 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and saute additional 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Transfer leek mixture to a small bowl.  Wipe skillet clean.
  4. Melt 4 Tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat; whisk in flour.  Cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in cream and broth.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often.  Reduce heat to medium-low; gradually whisk in Cheddar cheese and 4 Tbsp Parmesan cheese until smooth.  Stir in salt and pepper.
  5. Stir cream mixture into pasta.  Stir in tuna, chives, and parsley (or tarragon), beans and leek mixture.  Transfer to a lightly greased 13×9-inch baking dish.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together potato chips, panko, melted butter (2 Tbsp), and remaining 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over pasta mixture.
  7. Bake at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving (allows the dish to firm up a little).

Source: Southern Living magazine, December 2013 (pg. 175)

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