Weekly Winner: A Classier Tuna Noodle Casserole

IMG_1585  If you like tuna and you’re a fan of pasta (and if you’re not, I don’t want to know you) then you’ve obviously had some sort of tuna noodle casserole. Usually, this amounts to dumping canned tuna, egg noodles, and some sort of condensed soup in a casserole dish and baking it until bubbly. While it may not be earth-shatteringly delicious, it is comforting and will take the chill off of a cold winter evening.

I think it is safe to say that I will never make one of those casseroles again. Why? Because I have found a better way. A step up from the basic, boring casserole. Enter Creamy Shells and Tuna with Walnut Gremolata. I believe the recipe came from Cuisine at Home and while it is a much classier dish than the standard casserole, it is a lot quicker as there is no baking required. Bonus!

Creamy Shells & Tuna with Walnut Gremolata
Serves 4

For the gremolata: combine 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts, 1/4 cup chopped parsley and the zest of 2 lemons. Set aside.

Ingredients for the pasta:
8 oz dry medium shell pasta
1 cup diced shallots
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp country Dijon mustard
2 cans solid white albacore tuna in water (5 oz each), drained
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cook shells in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

Sweat shallots and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until shallots soften, 7-8 minutes.

Deglaze skillet with vermouth, increase heat to high, and reduce until nearly evaporated, 3 minutes. Add cream, broth, and mustard; boil sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in shells, tuna, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Add pasta water to reach desired consistency. Garnish with gremolata.