A white serving bowl with tuna tetrazzini, lemon wedges, and peas on a neutral table with a blue napkin.
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Tuna Tetrazzini

Cheryl Malik
January 4, 2023
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Classic, home-cooked tuna tetrazzini is every bit as delicious and satisfying as you remember from your childhood. Tender noodles with flaky tuna, sweet peas, earthy mushrooms, and savory onions smothered in a cream sauce and topped with crisp breadcrumbs and melty parmesan cheese. It’s a comfort food for a reason!

A white serving bowl with tuna tetrazzini, lemon wedges, and peas on a neutral table with a blue napkin.

🐟 What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • Tuna tetrazzini is such a family favorite! This creamy pasta and tuna casserole is so comforting. The spaghetti are mixed with albacore tuna, mushrooms and peas. The dish is then tossed in a creamy delicious sauce and the casserole is sprinkled with breadcrumbs and parmesan before being baked until bubbly.
  • This is a great make-ahead recipe! You can prepare the whole casserole and hold off on the baking part, until it’s almost time to eat. Keep the casserole covered and refrigerated without the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Add those right before baking and you’ll have a quick dinner on hand for a busy night, or a dish to bring to a potluck.
  • This recipe makes a large portion and is very budget-friendly. You’ll get a super tasty, filling, and complete meal for about $2 a serving!

💰 Our 2 Cents

  • Cans of tuna are great to keep on hand in your pantry. You can buy them in bulk to bring the cost per can down even more, and they have a long shelf-life so you can stock up whenever they’re on sale. Tuna is super versatile, too – use it for sandwiches, tuna salad, tuna noodle casseroles, and so much more.
  • To bring the cost down even more, you can replace the whole milk sauce with a can of cream of mushroom soup.

Chef’s Tips

  • To avoid mushy pasta, I highly recommend cooking them 1 to 2 minutes shy of the al-dente directions on their packaging. They’ll continue cooking while the whole casserole is baking.
  • Speaking about the pasta, we use spaghetti but fettuccine, macaroni, or rotini would be perfect for this recipe too. You can use any pasta shape you’d like or have on hand.
  • While we use frozen peas in the tuna tetrazzini, you can also use canned peas too if you prefer. Just make sure to drain them well first.
  • If you have a large cast iron or other oven-safe skillet, you can cook the casserole, and then add the breadcrumb and parmesan topping to it, without having to transfer it all into a separate dish. Then bake the tuna tetrazzini directly in the skillet. Less dishes for a quicker clean-up!
Overhead view of tuna tetrazzini in a rectangular white casserole dish.

More Delicious Dinner Ideas

Tuna tetrazzini in a casserole dish with spaghetti, tuna, cream sauce, peas, and lemon wedges.

Tuna Tetrazzini

This tuna tetrazzini casserole is made with pasta, mushrooms and peas all cooked in a creamy sauce, then topped with breadcrumbs and grated parmesan before being baked in the oven.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Recipe Makes: 6 servings

Equipment

  • 9×13 baking dish (or large cast iron skillet)
  • cooking spray
  • large pot
  • colander
  • Large skillet (if not using cast iron skillet)
  • 2 small mixing bowls
  • 2 whisks (or forks)
  • tongs

Ingredients

  • 4-6 cups water
  • ¾ tablespoon table salt
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti noodles (or pasta shape of choice)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
  • half of one medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk (at room temperature)
  • 2 5-ounce cans albacore tuna in water (8 ounces drained, flaked with fork; see Notes)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (more or less to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • lemon wedges (optional, to serve)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Fill large pot with 4 to 6 cups water. Place pot on stove over high heat and bring water to rolling boil. When water begins to boil, add salt and stir to incorporate salt into water.
  • Once salted water begins to boil, add uncooked noodles. Cook pasta 1 to 2 minutes less than directed on package instructions. When pasta is ready, pour noodles and water into colander and set aside to drain.
  • While pasta cooks, heat large skillet over medium heat. When skillet is warm, add 2 tablespoons butter and let butter melt completely, swirling skillet occasionally to coat bottom of skillet in melted butter.
  • When butter is melted, add sliced mushrooms to skillet. Stirring occasionally, cook mushrooms 5 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are browned and most liquid has cooked off.
  • Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet with mushrooms, then add chopped onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until butter has melted and onions have softened, approximately 2 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir to incorporate, cooking 30 to 60 seconds or until garlic is just fragrant.
  • Pour all-purpose flour and 2 cups milk into small mixing bowl. Whisk well until ingredients are fully incorporated and mixture is mostly smooth.
  • Remove skillet from hot burner. Slowly pour milk mixture into skillet, stirring constantly, until all of milk mixture has been added and incorporated into ingredients in skillet.
  • Return skillet to hot burner. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened slightly.
  • Remove skillet from hot burner. Add tuna, peas, lemon juice, kosher salt, and pepper. Stir well to incorporate ingredients, then taste sauce and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  • Add al dente noodles to skillet and use tongs to toss pasta in sauce and separate any noodles that may be stuck together. Once pasta is well coated, transfer entire mixture to prepared baking dish. Spread mixture out across baking dish in one even layer.
  • Add parmesan and breadcrumbs to second mixing bowl. Whisk or stir to blend ingredients, then sprinkle mixture evenly over top of pasta mixture.
  • Cut remaining tablespoon butter into 9 small cubes. Place cubes of butter on top of breadcrumb mixture, spaced evenly apart.
  • Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and breadcrumb topping is golden brown in color. If desired, turn on broiler and broil on high 1 to 2 minutes or until topping is deeply browned and extra crispy.
  • Carefully remove baking dish from oven and set aside to stand 3 to 5 minutes. When ready to serve, divide tetrazzini into servings and garnish with additional grated parmesan and lemon wedges, if desired. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Tuna: The albacore tuna usually comes in 5-ounce cans – that weight includes the water the tuna is packed in. Once the water’s drained out, you should have 4 ounces of tuna from each can, for 8 ounces of tuna total. This recipe needs 8 ounces drained tuna.
  • Skillet & Baking Dish: If you have a large cast iron skillet, you can skip the baking dish entirely. Prepare the recipe as written, and instead of transferring the mixture to a baking dish, just place the cast iron skillet directly into the preheated oven.

Recipe costs provided are approximate. Actual cost per recipe & serving will vary by location, store, brand, etc. Approximate cost shown does not include costs for any optional ingredients.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 399kcal | Protein: 21g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 514mg | Total Carbs: 48g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Net Carbs: 44g | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 161mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes. Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used. To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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Recipe by Cheryl Malik

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