Tuna Melt Mac 'n' Cheese
- 1 pound hollow cavatappi or elbows with lines, or macaroni with lines
- About 3 tablespoons EVOO, plus extra for drizzling
- 12 ounces line-caught canned tuna, drained
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley and tarragon
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion or scallions, whites and greens
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 to 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 stick butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- About 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups grated white Cheddar or gruyere cheese
- 1 1/2 cups homemade breadcrumbs or panko
- 1/2 cup grated Parm
In a large bowl, flake the tuna and add the herbs (reserving a tablespoon or 2 for breadcrumbs), onions, mustard, celery, lemon juice, EVOO and some salt and pepper. Add the pasta and combine well. Transfer to a baking dish or large casserole dish.
In a medium saucepot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute. Then whisk in the milk and season with salt and pepper, thicken to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the Cheddar in a figure-eight motion. Pour the sauce evenly over the pasta and tuna. Gently combine with a spoon to settle the sauce. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a small pan and add the breadcrumbs and reserved herbs, toss to evenly distribute the butter, remove from heat and transfer to airtight container.
To prepare, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bring the casserole to room temperature. Top the casserole with breadcrumbs and Parm cheese. Bake until golden and hot through.