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Ahi Tuna Noodle Casserole

I recently got on a kick of looking for ways to ‘Deconstruct’ recipes.  It seemed like a cool way to present a dish and the couple I have posted were quite fun.  Next up on my ‘to-be-deconstructed’ list was Tuna Noodle Casserole.  A comfort food dish that many of us grew up on (whether you liked it or not). 

My thought was to build the layers of flavor thoughtfully using top quality ingredients to deliver a bowl of comfort.  I think I’ve succeeded with this one.

Ahi Tuna Noodle Casserole

During today’s Sunday’s with Shelby excursion we revisited the Buford Highway Farmers Market.  I was trying to describe this place to B.  He couldn’t grasp that the seafood counter was bigger than the one at our Whole Foods.  I said “honey, envision the IKEA of supermarkets….that’s what this place is like.”

Here’s just one side of the 10 sided seafood counter that wraps nearly the entire back of the store.  It’s amazing.  The fish mongers are on ready to take your order.  Today it was a beautiful piece of Ahi Tuna.

Buford Highway Farmers Markets

For the other components of this dish, I used some beautiful Tagliatelle pasta (long medium width noodles), a creamy sauce infused with lemony thyme and Morel mushrooms, and a handful of green peas.  Top those layers of goodness with seared Ahi Tuna and you’ve got a fabulous recreation of a classic comfort food dish.

Ahi Tuna Noodle Casserole

Recipe note:  Because I am looking for ways to ‘lighten up’ our dishes, I made our cream sauce from fat free half-and-half and Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb wedges.  To give it a nice burst of flavor I added two sprigs of fresh lemony thyme and a handful of dried Morel mushrooms (that I scored at our local farmers market last week).  The mushrooms are certainly optional, as is choosing to ‘lighten’ it up.  This dish would also be delicious with Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup in place of the cream sauce.  Bottom line, make this Ahi Tuna Noodle Casserole your own and prepare to get comfortable and happy.  

Ahi Tuna Noodle Casserole {with a Lemony Thyme Sauce}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
The fresh lemony thyme sprigs were such a lovely add to this sauce. Adding a bright, slight lemon flavor.
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
For the pasta...
  • 4 oz. Tagliatelle pasta (or your favorite noodle)
  • 1 Tbl. olive oil
  • ½ cup frozen green peas, thawed
For the cream sauce...
  • ¾ cup fat free half-and-half or cream
  • 1 Tbl. flour
  • 3 Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb Wedges
  • 2 sprigs fresh lemony thyme
  • ⅛ cup dried Morel mushrooms, optional
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
For the tuna...
  • 1 8 oz. Ahi Tuna steak, cut in half
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 Tbl. sunflower oil or other high heat oil
Instructions
For the pasta...
  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain and toss with olive oil and green peas. Reserve.
For the cream sauce...
  1. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan heat half-and-half over medium heat until just about to boil, then dust with flour while whisking to blend. Reduce heat to low, add cheese wedges and whisk until cheese has melted. Add lemony thyme sprigs and dried mushrooms and allow to cook over low, stirring occassionally. Sauce should be fairly thick.
For the tuna...
  1. Combine the cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Then pour onto a plate. Dip the edges of the tuna steaks in the spice mixture, gently pressing so it adheres.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat sunflower oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering in the pan. Using tongs sear all edges of both steaks, about 45 seconds per side. Once edges are golden browned, sear steaks for 1 minute per side for rare, adjust cooking time according to your preferred level of doneness. Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes; thinly slice accross the grain.
To serve...
  1. Divide pasta and peas between two bowls. Remove thyme sprigs from sauce and spoon over pasta. Top with thinly sliced ahi tuna pieces.

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