Copyright Thomas Saaristo  All Rights Reserved
Tuna noodle casserole
Homemade version of a 70’s classic

For the noodles
4 cups egg noodles
House salt

For the sauce
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced
2 hearts of celery, with leaves, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, minced (remove as much or as little of the seeds and veins as you wish)
House salt
Black peppercorns in a pepper  mill
2 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cup half & half
Zest from 1 lemon
1/3 cup sour cream
1 generous tablespoon Dijon
2/3 cup shredded extra sharp white cheddar
2 to 4 tablespoons pasta cooking liquid

For final assembly
14 1/2 ounces best-quality canned tuna in extra virgin olive oil
1 sleeve butter crackers, Ritz recommended
3/4 cup French fried onions, French’s recommended

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter an 8 x 8 glass baking dish

For the noodles

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add 1/3 cup House salt and stir. Cover the pot and
bring to the boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender

For the sauce
Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the butter and the
oil and swirl together. When the butter and oil is hot, add the onion, celery and
jalapeno, add a pinch of House salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions
and celery are translucent and just begin to brown around the edges. Season with salt
and pepper

Sprinkle in the flour and stir until the flour is fully absorbed by the fat. Slowly whisk in
the half & half. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Taste
for salt and pepper

Pull the pan off the heat and whisk in the sour cream and Dijon. Tumble in the
shredded cheese. Flake in the tuna

Reserve 1 cup of the noodle cooking liquid. Drain the noodles then add them to the
sauce. Stir everything together. If desired add up to 1/4 cup of the reserved noodle
cooking liquid to bring the sauce together and stir well

Scrap the noodle-sauce mixture into the prepared baking dish

Tumble the butter crackers and French fried onions into a 1 gallon zip top baggie. Seal
the bag and crush the crackers and onions together in a rough mix with your fingers

Scatter the cracker-onion mixture over top the casserole

Bake on center rack for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes
before serving