Let me tell you, the peanut gallery will be chiming in later on this afternoon when they discover what we’re having for dinner tonight. It’ll go something like this: “OMG Mom, whatever we’ve done, we’re sorry! Is it our bath towels? We promise to hang them up next time! We have no idea who left candy wrappers in the family room again! I didn’t wear your good shoes out in the mud, I swear! Please Mom! Don’t make us eat tuna and shells, we promise to be good!”
Sorry Charlie(s). Mommy wants tuna and shells – and what Mommy wants, Mommy gets.
I’ve been trying to convince them for years (years!) that they should give tuna casserole a chance. Sometimes I torture them with the idea of it. But the other night I caught the tail end of “Suburgatory” on ABC and this hilarious family was eating tuna and shells and that’s what got me started and I just knew I had to make it again.
I’ll let you know how it goes. I secretly hope they don’t like it – then there’ll be more for me!
TUNA AND SHELLS
1 lb. medium shell pasta (Barilla Pastas are on sale, 2/22/12 to 2/28/12)
1 T. olive oil
4 T. unsalted butter, divided (Shurfresh Butter is on sale)
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped (Jumbo Red Bell Peppers are on sale)
1 T. flour
1/2 c. dry white wine (use one you’d like to drink; if you don’t drink wine swap in broth)
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c. frozen peas (Westpac Basic Frozen Vegetables are on sale)
2 – 12 oz. cans water packed tuna, drained and flaked (Chicken of the Sea Tuna is on sale in 5 oz. cans – grab 5)
4 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves stripped from stems and finely chopped (I used 1/2 t. dried tarragon)
4 slices good quality sandwich bread, torn into pieces
Italian parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt the water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente.
Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil (one turn of the pan), and melt 1 tablespoon of butter into the olive oil. Add the onion and celery, cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then add the wine and reduce for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and boil for 1 minute to thicken. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream; season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. When it bubbles, add the peas and tuna and cook until heated through. Fold in the tarragon and turn the heat to low.
Preheat the broiler. In a mini prep or food processor, pulse the bread until coarse crumbs form. In a microwaveable dish, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and add a little hot sauce. Stir the butter into the breadcrumbs to combine.
Drain the shells; toss with the sauce and adjust the seasonings. Place the pasta in a 9 x 13″ heatproof serving dish and cover with the breadcrumbs. Place the dish under the hot broiler and crisp the crumbs for 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with the fresh parsley and serve straight away.
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