Sunday, February 7, 2021

Rachael Ray’s Tuna Casserole

I had four (3 pounds) tuna filets in the freezer that needed to be used and since only Cindy and I like the medium rare version, I decided to use them to make tuna casserole - a first for us using fresh tuna.

I looked around online and settled on a recipe fromRacheal Ray that sounded good but was more complicated than some others. 

The recipe uses one pound of tuna for four servings but since I had three pounds and wanted to make two or more casseroles, I tripled Rachel’s recipe to get the one below and made it into casseroles which changed the directions a bit.  You can click on the link above for her original recipe which looks like this.

Rachael Ray’s Tuna Casserole - Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

The Ingredients:

3 tbsp. olive oil

18 tbsp. butter

9 cloves minced garlic (5 tsp), divided

3 cup panko breadcrumbs

3 lb. tuna steaks

Salt and pepper 

¾ lb. white mushrooms, thinly sliced

6 large shallots, finely chopped (3 cups)

3 stalk celery with leafy top, finely chopped

3 tsp. herbes de Provence

3 bay leaf

9 tbsp. flour

1½ cup dry white wine

3 cup chicken stock

1½ cup heavy cream

3 rounded tsp. Dijon mustard

White pepper

36 oz. small shaped pasta

About 2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley tops, finely chopped

2 tbsp. lemon zest, plus juice of 1½ lemon (about 6 tbsp.)

The Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 250F.

2. Prep tuna steaks if needed, place on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper and bake to a 135F internal temp.  Using a fork, flake the tuna into small pieces.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles.  Salt the boiling water and add the noodles. Cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions. Reserve 1½ cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the noodles.

4. In a large skillet, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil and melt 6 tbsp. butter. Add 2 tsp garlic and swirl for a minute. Add the breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are evenly coated with butter. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the skillet.

5. Heat the same skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 12 tbsp. butter to the skillet. When it melts, add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

6. Add the shallots, celery, thyme, bay leaf, 3 tsp garlic and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots soften.

7. Whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking often, until the flour is absorbed, a couple of minutes.

8. Whisk in the wine, then the stock, and bring to a bubble. Cook the sauce, whisking often, until it thickens a bit.

9. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the cream and Dijon. Season the sauce with white pepper and salt.

10. Mix the cheese, parsley, and lemon zest into the breadcrumbs.

11. Add the tuna and noodles to the sauce. Toss, thinning the sauce with the starchy cooking water if it gets too thick. Stir in the lemon juice and remove the bay leaves.

I got busy and forgot to take pics.

12. Add the noodle mixture to prepared 11”x13” casserole dishes and top with the garlicky breadcrumbs.  

13. Bake at 350F until warmed through and breadcrumbs are browned a little.

We ended up with the two large casseroles and two 4"x8" ones.  We ate one of the large ones, gave a small one away, froze the other big one for our friends Thursday meal, and froze the other little one for us.

The Verdict:

We all thought it was very good but since it was baked in a casserole, it definitely needed the pasta water addition.  Since Bev is not a fresh tuna fan, she was concerned about how she would like the casserole so I was relieved when both she and Pat gave their approval.  I don’t know if it was a lot better than the simpler recipes that use canned soup but I would definitely make it again with fresh tuna, which was milder in flavor than canned tuna.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


2/6/21 meal date


  1. Larry, We haven't had tuna casserole in a coon's age! We both like it too...although Laurie would prefer your version over mine...which as you know would leave a couple of your ingredients out. I'm still waiting for my first vaccine 'jab' but at least I'm on a list. Stay Safe and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  2. I don't think I've eaten tuna casserole since I was a kid. Al doesn't like tuna so I've never made it. Glad the recipe worked out and you all enjoyed it.

  3. I make my mom's all the time couldn't wait to see her ingredients, never heard of adding heavy cream but hey it looks wonderful ..

  4. I love tuna casserole, but I've only made the old-fashioned "cream of" soup version with canned tuna. I'd love to try this with the real deal. Fun recipe.

  5. I haven't had tuna casserole in years. It looks and sounds tasty.

  6. Rachael Ray is under appreciated, IMHO. I've made many of her recipes, over the years, with great results. This looks a whole lot better than the Tuna Helper Casserole my mom used to make in the 60's!! I'd love a helping of this,

  7. My spouse isn't a fan of tuna steaks either but I'll bet he'd love this! Thanks for the review!


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