Wednesday, November 11, 2009

tuna casserole... 1 hour

the goods:

10 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed, then cut in half
12 ounces whole wheat gemelli
2 cans (7 ounces each) solid white albacore tuna packed in water, drained
5 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

bechamel sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion, about 1/4 of a large onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups whole milk

In a large saucepan of well salted boiling water, cook green beans until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer green beans to a colander (reserving water). Rinse with cold water until cool; drain.

Return water in pan to a boil; add pasta and cook 2 minutes short of al dente; drain and rinse pasta.

Meanwhile, make bechamel sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add flour and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden and has a slightly nutty aroma, about 5 minutes.
Whisking constantly, pour in 2 cups of milk; add 2 more cups milk and whisk until smooth. Cook mixture, stirring constantly along the bottom of pan, until boiling, about 7 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and does not feel grainy when a very small amount is rubbed between two fingers, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine pasta, green beans, and bechamel; season with salt and pepper.

Gently fold in tuna.

In a food processor, pulse bread until coarse crumbs form. Add butter and pulse to combine.

Transfer tuna mixture to a 2-quart baking dish and top with breadcrumbs.

Bake until sauce is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden brown, 25 minutes.

Serve topped with fresh ground pepper.

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