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Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole Recipe

25 minutes Cook
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Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole Recipe

Tuna casserole is a classic comfort food that’s easy to make and flavorful. If you’re looking for a delicious tuna casserole recipe, the Barefoot Contessa is one of the best out there!

This simple yet tasty dish consists of seared albacore, fresh vegetables, Parmesan cheese, and cream sauce – all in a buttery crumb topping. Plus, it uses pantry staples, so it’s affordable too!

Whether you’re making dinner on a budget or want something new to try out this week, give the Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole recipe a try.

Table of Contents

What is the origin of tuna casserole?

Tuna casserole is believed to have originated in the United States during the 1940s. Although there are many variations of tuna casserole, the classic version typically consists of canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, vegetables (such as peas and carrots), a crunchy topping like breadcrumbs or potato chips, and cheese. This recipe was popularized during World War II when Americans were looking for simple yet tasty meals that could be made with food staples from their pantry. 

Why You’ll Love This Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole

Barefoot Contessa’s Tuna Casserole is a recipe worth raving about! 

  • It’s the perfect comfort food for a cozy evening or as a dish to serve a large group. 
  • But that’s not all; this casserole recipe is quick and easy to prepare using pantry staples and highly adaptable to customize it to your tastes. 
  • Want to add some healthy veggies? Go ahead and toss in some peas, carrots, or mushrooms. 
  • This delicious dish is made without any canned or processed ingredients. 

Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving

  • Calories 344
  • Total Fat 15g
  • Saturated Fat 5.7g
  • Cholesterol 60mg
  • Sodium 778mg
  • Potassium 294mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 32g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.8g
  • Sugars 1.8g
  • Protein 20g
  • Vitamin A 8.8%
  • Vitamin C 6.3%
  • Calcium 15%
  • Iron 8.1%

Barefoot Contessa’s Tuna Casserole Ingredients

Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole Recipe

  • ¾ Ib tubetti or elbow macaroni  
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 
  • ½ ounce Parmesan, grated (2 tbsp)  
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small 
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour  
  • 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth  
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk  
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) of solid light tuna packed in water, drained and flaked  
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed  

How to Make Barefoot Contessa’s Tuna Casserole

  • Get the oven ready to go at 425 F. Then start boiling the pasta according to its instructions, but shave 2 minutes off the recommended time to keep it slightly underdone. Once cooked, drain it and set it to the side. 
  • Before diving into the sauce, mix some panko, ParmesanParmesan, and 2 teaspoons of oil together in a small bowl. Then heat 2 more teaspoons of oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, plus a pinch of salt and pepper to taste, and cook for around 8 minutes until it’s soft.
  • Add the flour and whisk it in with the onion until it melts together. While slowly whisking, pour in the milk and broth. Let the sauce boil, and stir frequently while it simmers, for around 8 to 10 minutes, until it’s thick.
  • The step is to toss in the earlier underdone pasta, tuna, peas, and more salt and pepper to taste.
  • Try dry herbs like rosemary or thyme to season your tuna mixture with your favorite flavors.
  •  Next, place the mixture into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. The fun begins once the tuna’s in – cover the dish entirely with a layer of panko mix. 
  • Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, and wait until the sauce is bubbling and the crust is deliciously golden brown. 
  • Let it cool for a few minutes; you’re ready to enjoy!

How to Store Barefoot Contessa’s Tuna Casserole

Here’s a guide to keeping Barefoot Contessa’s Tuna Casserole fresh and delicious for future meals:

  • Cool it down: let your tuna casserole cool to room temperature before storing it. This helps maintain its texture and quality by preventing moisture buildup.
  • Wrap it up: once cooled, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Ensure it’s completely covered to avoid air exposure, then wrap it again with aluminum foil for added protection.
  • Label it: label the wrapped casserole with the name and date of preparation; it makes it easier to identify it later and monitor storage time.
  • Store it: keep the wrapped tuna casserole in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it within 3-4 days. If you want to extend its shelf life, stick it in the freezer.
  • Portioning (optional): divide the casserole into portions before wrapping and storing. This makes reheating easier and avoids the hassle of thawing and reheating the entire soup.
  • Reheat and enjoy: remove the desired portion from the refrigerator or freezer, thaw it overnight in the fridge if it was frozen, then reheat it in the oven or microwave until heated. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal results.

How Long Can Tuna Casserole Sit Out?

Prepare it a few hours before serving and store it in the fridge or freezer to avoid spoilage. Leave it out for 2 hours, and then it’s time to chill! Remember to cover it until dinner time.

How Long Does Tuna Casserole Last in the Fridge?

Want to know how long baked tuna casserole can last in the fridge? Properly stored, it stays fresh for 3-4 days! Let it cool first, then wrap it with plastic and aluminum or divide it into portions in glass containers.

How Long Does Tuna Casserole Last in the Freezer?

For easy, reheatable portions of baked tuna casserole, it’s essential to store it properly. First, follow the fridge method. Then, wrap the casserole and place it in a freezer bag for at least 3 months, but it may last longer.

How to Reheat Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole

Looking to reheat Barefoot Contessa’s Tuna Casserole? You have a variety of options that will depend on your preferences and the appliances in your kitchen.

  • Oven method:  preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) and let the casserole thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, throw it in an oven-safe dish covered tightly with foil, heating it for around 40 minutes or until it’s hot all the way through.
  • Air fryer method: Preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) and allow the casserole to thaw overnight. Put the soup in the air fryer basket or tray and heat for about 20 minutes, checking it periodically for even heating.
  • Microwave method: Transfer a portion of the casserole to a microwave-safe dish and cover it with microwave-safe wrap or lid. Reheat in 1-minute intervals on medium power while stirring occasionally, usually between 3-5 minutes, depending on your microwave and portion size. Note that this method tends to produce a softer texture than the oven or air fryer.

Reheat Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole in the Microwave

To quickly reheat tuna casserole in the microwave, divide the portion into servings and pop each into a microwave-safe dish with a lid. Next, heat each serving separately for about 3 minutes on medium-high. 

Reheat Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole in an Oven

To ensure your dish retains moisture, tightly cover it with tin foil and preheat the oven to a toasty 350°F. Keep it protected until the last 5-10 minutes of heating.

Reheat Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole in the Air Fryer

Start by preheating the air fryer to 350°F. Then, grab a bowl that’ll fit nicely into your air fryer basket and place the tuna casserole inside. Cover it with aluminum foil for optimal results and reheat it for 15-20 minutes.

Tips to make the best Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole

For a scrumptious casserole, follow these tips:

  • Turn the casserole 900 halfway through baking for even browning.
  • Choose fresh sourdough for a crispy topping.
  • Whip up homemade mushroom cream soup instead of canned soup for a tastier version.
  • Add a zesty twist with fresh herbs and lemon to enliven the dish.
  • Drain the canned tuna to enrich all the flavors of the dish.

Recipe Variations

  • Add More Veggies: Toss in any additional vegetables you think would be perfect with this dish! Asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, or zucchini would all be fantastic. You can add them to the sauté or substitute them for what’s already there.
  • Use A Different Cheese: You may substitute any shredded cheese you desire for the cheddar – gruyere, gouda, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or others. If you want to go even further, reduce the quantity and replace it with crumbled cheese such as feta, goat cheese, Parmesan Parmesan, or any of the many other amazing substitutes.
  • Unleash your culinary creativity by experimenting with various dried or fresh herbs and seasonings to flavor your dish. Fresh Italian herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme will add a new twist, while Cajun ingredients will bring a spicy flavor. For a tangy and zesty twist, give the dish a lemon pepper vibe by emphasizing the lemon and black pepper. 
  • Substitute egg noodles with your preferred gluten-free noodle variety for those on a gluten-free diet. Instead of all-purpose flour to thicken the sauce, use a tablespoon or two of cornstarch slurry, made by whisking equal parts cold water and cornstarch together. 

Ingredient Substitution

As we’ve told you, Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole is a highly versatile dish. Whether you want to satisfy your taste buds or add a touch of sophistication, this classic recipe can be easily tweaked to suit your needs. Give it a try and add your flair.

Shell Pasta

When it comes to making mac and cheese and casseroles like tuna casserole, elbow macaroni is the go-to basic. Shell pasta, also known as conchiglie, is an excellent alternative! Not only is it lighter and comes in various sizes, but its unique shape perfectly holds the creamy sauce used in this recipe. Although it takes longer to cook than elbow macaroni, just a few extra minutes will do the trick. 

Cracker Crumbs

Panko is a type of bread crumb that differs from the traditional ones owing to its airy texture! The result is a crispy coating that absorbs less moisture and grease. 

Potato chips or crackers can be crushed and used instead. Give it a try, as the taste and crunch of your tuna casserole won’t be affected. 

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream or sour cream is the way to go. It’s the perfect substitute for the sauce in this tuna casserole recipe. You only need to remember that it has a high-fat content, so dilute it slightly. For a luxuriously rich and creamy sauce, use half a cup of heavy cream and water to replace a cup of milk. 

What to Serve with Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole

Barefoot Contessa Tuna Casserole is an excellent main dish, but that’s just half the battle! Pair it with equally great sides to enjoy a perfect comfort dinner or lunch.

Steamed Veggies

Don’t let the idea of plain, steamed veggies turn you off – they make the perfect sidekick for a delicious tuna casserole! For something filling like this, it’s always good to balance it out with something lighter. That’s where steamed broccoli or green beans come in – providing a nice crunch that contrasts perfectly with the creamy casserole. 

Mac and Cheese

Add some classic mac and cheese to your tuna casserole and prepare for an explosion of flavor! Not only will it add a welcome saltiness to your meal, but the carb-protein balance is perfection. Mac and cheese are quick and easy to whip up. 

FAQs of barefoot contessa tuna casserole

Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole Recipe

How Do You Keep Tuna Casserole from Drying Out?

The key to keeping the casserole from drying out is to ensure it’s not overcooked. Bake the dish for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sauce bubbles.

Can You Freeze Unbaked Casserole?

Yes, you can freeze an unbaked tuna casserole. Prepare the casserole as usual and cover it tightly with foil before transferring it to the freezer. When ready to bake, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then bake according to recipe instructions.

How do you make Rachael Ray’s tuna chicken casserole?

Rachael Ray’s tuna casserole is a simple and flavorful dish that can be thrown together quickly. Start by cooking egg noodles in salted boiling water until al dente. Then, mix the cooked noodles with two cans of tuna, frozen peas, cream of chicken soup, mayonnaise, and Parmesan cheese.

Why is my tuna noodle casserole so dry?

If your tuna casserole is too dry, you may need more liquid ingredients. Make sure to use a generous amount of cream of mushroom soup and sour cream to make the dish moist and flavorful. Adding milk or chicken broth can also help keep the casserole from drying out if your recipe calls for it.

Why is my Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole dry?

The Barefoot Contessa’s tuna casserole is a great dish but can dry if not cooked correctly. To prevent this from happening, make sure to use enough liquid ingredients such as cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Additionally, don’t overcook the dish – it should be baked for only 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.

How do I fix dry Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole?

If your tuna casserole is dry, adding more liquid ingredients is the best way to fix it. Try adding some extra cream of mushroom soup and/or sour cream to your casserole before baking it. Additionally, you can add a splash of chicken broth or milk when reheating the dish for an even richer flavor.

Do you eat Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole warm or cold?

Barefoot Contessa’s tuna casserole is best enjoyed warm. The casserole can be reheated in the microwave or oven, but add a splash of chicken broth or milk to keep it from drying out. Alternatively, you can also enjoy the cold dish straight from the refrigerator.

Can you eat leftover Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole?

Yes, you can eat leftover Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole. If reheating in the microwave or oven, make sure to add a splash of chicken broth or milk before doing so to keep it from drying out. Alternatively, you can also enjoy the cold dish straight from the refrigerator.

What Can I Use To Top A Tuna Casserole?

Topping your tuna casserole is a great way to add flavor and texture. Try completing the dish with Parmesan cheese, crushed crackers, seasoned breadcrumbs, or fresh herbs such as parsley or chives. You could add crunchy vegetables like diced bell peppers or sliced mushrooms for an even more flavorful dish.

What Brand Of Tuna Is Ideal For Tuna Casserole?

It’s essential to use the correct type of tuna when making a tuna casserole. For best results, opt for solid white albacore tuna in water. This type of tuna will provide the most flavor and hold up well during baking. Avoid canned oil-packed tuna, making your casserole too wet and greasy.

What kind of tuna is best for tuna casserole?

For the best results, opt for solid white albacore tuna in water. This type of tuna will provide the most flavor and hold up well during baking. Avoid canned oil-packed tuna, making your casserole too wet and greasy.

How do you keep a tuna casserole moist?

The key to keeping your tuna casserole moist is ensuring it’s not overcooked. Bake the dish for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the sauce bubbles. Additionally, be generous with your liquid ingredients, such as cream of mushroom soup and/or sour cream, to keep it from drying out.

Should You Cover tuna casserole while Baking?

Yes, you should cover your tuna casserole while baking. This will ensure the top doesn’t dry or burn during cooking. Cover the dish with foil before transferring it to the oven and remove it for the last 5 minutes of cooking to let the top brown.

How to maintain the Freshness of Tuna Casserole.

To maintain the freshness of your tuna casserole, make sure to store it properly. Let the dish cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container and keeping it in the refrigerator. The casserole should keep for up to 4 days when stored correctly. To reheat, add a chicken broth or milk splash before warming it in the oven or microwave.

Can Unbaked Casserole Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze an unbaked tuna casserole. Prepare the casserole as usual and cover it tightly with foil before transferring it to the freezer. When ready to bake, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then bake according to recipe instructions.

Conclusion: barefoot contessa tuna casserole

Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole is an easy and flavorful dish that will please the whole family. To ensure it comes out moist and delicious, be generous with your liquid ingredients, such as cream of mushroom soup and/or sour cream, and don’t overcook the dish. Opt for solid white albacore tuna in water for the best results when making this dish. You can freeze an unbaked casserole for later use – thaw overnight before baking. Finally, properly store the casserole in an airtight container to maintain freshness. With these tips, you’ll surely enjoy a delicious Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole!

Here is a list of other fish-based dishes for your reference:

 

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Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole Recipe

Barefoot Contessa tuna casserole Recipe

osbertpresley
Barefoot Contessa's tuna casserole is the perfect weeknight family meal. With canned tuna, peas, pasta, and a creamy sauce, this recipe is easy to prepare and likely to include several ingredients you already have. It's sure to please everyone's taste buds, and it's topped with crunchy panko.
prep time
30 minutes
cooking time
25 minutes
servings
6
total time
1 hour 5 minutes

Equipment

  • Large pot

  • Colander or strainer

  • Oven-safe casserole dish

  • Mixing bowls

  • Whisk or fork

  • Cutting board

  • Chef's knife

  • Wooden spoon or spatula

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Aluminum foil or oven-safe lid (for covering the casserole dish)

  • Baking sheet (to place the casserole dish on, to catch any spills)

Ingredients

  • ¾ Ib tubetti or elbow macaroni

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • ½ ounce Parmesan, grated (2 tbsp)

  • 4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 yellow onion, diced small

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

  • 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 ½ cups whole milk

  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) solid light tuna packed in water, drained and flaked

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Instructions

1
Let's preheat the oven to a toasty 425 F!
2
start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions, but stop 2 minutes before the recommended time, so it’s a tad undercooked.
3
Cook the pasta and set it aside.
4
Mix panko, Parmesan, and oil in a small bowl
5
Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
6
Cook onion with salt and pepper to taste until softened.
7
Stir in flour and combine.
8
Slowly whisk in milk and broth until the sauce thickens.
9
  • Add tuna, peas, and cooked pasta, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add your favorite seasonings, like dried rosemary or thyme.
  • Transfer the mixture to a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  • Cover the entire casserole with the panko mixture.
  • Bake until the sauce bubbles and the crust is golden brown.
  • Let the dish cool for a few minutes before serving, and enjoy!
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About author
As the owner of greenteahouserestaurant.com, I'm Osbert Presley – an enthusiastic chef passionate about culinary exploration. Since childhood, cooking has brought me immense delight, and it's been my mission to share the joys of food and drinks with everyone around me. I'm always searching for new recipes and discovering tips & tricks that help people in their kitchen adventures. One of my favorite activities is entertaining guests at dinner parties; nothing gives me more pleasure than creating a memorable experience for friends & family!
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