One of my favorite comfort foods is a mac&cheese tuna casserole. That’s real mac&cheese, not any of that glow in the dark orange garbage. It amazes me just how many people have never actually had a proper, home-made macaroni and cheese! It’s really good eating (unlike the glow in the dark stuff). The most important thing for this is to use good cheddar cheese. The pre-shredded stuff is tasteless – you need a good brick of some kind of high quality, aged cheddar cheese. Of the widely available stuff, my favorite is Cabot extra-sharp.
- 1 pound of macaroni, cooked according to instructions an the box, then cooled.
- 3/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese.
- 2 cups milk.
- 8 tablespoons butter.
- 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced.
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard.
- 1 can of good quality tuna, preferably packed in olive oil, drained
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs.
- 2 tablespoons of flour.
- 1 head broccoli, steamed and cut into small pieces.
- In 2 tbs of butter, brown the sliced mushrooms. Add salt to taste.
- In another 2 tbs butter, toast the bread-crumbs until they’re nicely browned.
- Put the cooked macaroni, broccoli, mushrooms, and tuna into a large mixing bowl, and mix
- In a saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tbs butter, and then add the flour. Whisk together
to form a roux, and cook on medium low heat until it’s about the color of coffee with milk.
- Add the milk, and whisk vigourously to dissolve the roux into the milk. Increase the heat
to medium, and stir until it reaches a boil and thickens.
- Add the mustard and 2/3rds of the cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that the salt in the sauce is the only salt for the macaroni.)
- Pour the sauce over the pasta mixture in the bowl, and mix it through.
- Dump the resulting mixture into a large casserole dish. Top with the toasted bread crumbs
and the remaining cheese.
- Cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes; then remove the foil and let it bake
for another 20 minutes.
It’s a humble dish, but it’s really awfully good. If you’re adventurous, you can also do all sorts of variations – this dish is great for playing with. For example, replacing the mustard with curry powder