Growing up my dad had a couple of dishes that he was known for. His specialties were: tuna sandwiches, tuna casserole and french toast. That last one kind of throws you for a loop, huh? But hey, the man can make breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, that's pretty cool. He has, since, expanded his repertoire. Now he's also known for things like homemade tamales.This isn't my dad's tuna casserole recipe, but it's certainly inspired by him. There are about a million different "tuna surprise" variations. All with different, uh, surprises in each. Mine simply involves one unexpected ingredient. Just wait and see.Tura Surprise Casserole, serves 5-6.
6 oz. uncooked pasta (I used no yolk dumplings)
2 cans tuna
5 cloves of garlic
8 oz. mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped green onion
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4-5 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon all purpose greek seasoning
salt + pepper
the surprise ingredient
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. You don't want to overcook the pasta, as it's going to get baked later (getting cooked even more).
Mince the garlic. Remove the mushroom stems, rinse well and chop into small pieces. Chop up the green onions. In a large pot cook the garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat for a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook just until they begin to soften. Remove from heat and place on a plate for later. In that same large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, making a kind of gravy/paste. Season with a little salt + pepper and the greek seasoning. Stir in the milk and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Once everything begins to melt together stir in the tuna (drained), mushrooms and garlic. Place the mixture in a small casserole pan or individual ramekins. Place the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top, along with a few green onions.The surprise ingredient? Why, it's ritz crackers of course! Topping a casserole with crushed ritz crackers is very country cooking, I'm told. It reminds me of so many casseroles that folks would bring to fellowship dinners at church growing up. Anyway, crush up about 18-20 crackers in a plastic bag and top the casserole with the crumbs.Bake at 375°F for 15-18 minutes until the tops begin to brown. Serve hot!This would be a fun dish to serve at thanksgiving, for any kiddos not interested in turkey. Or you could make this up a day before or morning of and add the crackers/bake for an easy week night dinner. Enjoy! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography by: Emma Chapman