Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tuna-Noodle Casserole with Mushrooms and Mascarpone

Casseroles are simple, no-fuss, downhome dinners—and one of the most versatile dishes when it comes to ingredients. In this recipe, lean tuna and plenty of vegetables provide low-fat nutrition, while creamy, rich mascarpone cheese and tender egg noodles add hearty flavor and texture. It's a tasty balance!

Be sure to look for top-quality canned tuna. Wild, solid white albacore is an excellent choice.

Note: You can use cream cheese instead of mascarpone, but let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes because cream cheese (sold in blocks) is denser and stiffer than mascarpone.   

Serves 4

  • olive oil for oiling dish, plus 2 tbsp
  • 6 oz wide egg noodles (with or without yolks)
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups low-fat (2%) milk
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
  • 2 5-oz cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
Vegetables for the Casserole 
Tuna and Cheeses
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly oil an 11 X 7-inch baking dish.
  2. Cook the noodles in boiling, salted water 8 minutes. Drain.
Drained Noodles
  1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil, swirling to coat. Add the mushrooms and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened and most of the liquid is absorbed, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Sprinkle the mushroom mixture with flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until slightly thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the noodles, peas, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tuna. Stir well to combine.
Mushrooms and Onions Beginning to Cook 
Stir in the Flour
Stir in the Milk 
Stir in the Mascarpone and Mustard
Remaining Ingredients Added
  1. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until golden and bubbly, 18-20 minutes.
Casserole Ready to Bake 
Baked Casserole 
 Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tuna-Noodle Casserole with Mushrooms and Mascarpone

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