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No canned soup here! This Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cheese Tortellini and Egg Noodles is creamy, dreamy and gets an extra texture and flavor boost from cheese tortellini and a crisp, buttery panko topping.

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There are few dishes as comforting after a bad day then a big plate of noodle casserole, and this one really hits the spot.

For my version of this very retro meal, I wanted to do a from-scratch cream sauce, and add a bit of texture and flavor in the form of cheese tortellini and buttery panko breadcrumbs.

Don’t worry- the egg noodles are alive, well and in abundance in this recipe as well. But the tortellini add a little something special to each bite.

Let’s make some Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cheese Tortellini and Egg Noodles

To make my version of this classic dish, we’ll start by boiling and draining the egg noodles and some frozen tortellini.

We’ll then sauté some celery, make a quick and easy roux, then a cream sauce. To that easy cream sauce, we will add a few spices, some drained canned tuna, some peas, some cheeses and a bit of my secret weapon- country dijon mustard.

Once all that yummy sauce is ready, just toss the oodles of noodles in the velvety goodness, top it with MORE CHEESE and toasty breadcrumbs and pop that bad boy in the oven. In just 30 short minutes, you’ll be in Tuna Noodle Casserole heaven. 

Tuna Noodle Casserole Tortellini

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cheese Tortellini and Egg Noodles

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dinner
Keyword: canned tuna, cheddar, panko, tortellini, tuna, tuna casserole
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp butter (reserve half for panko topping)
  • 1 rib of celery with leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 2 cups milk (I use 2%)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme
  • 3/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3 5 oz cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 2 cups frozen cheese tortellini
  • 8 cups egg noodles
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard (I like Grey Poupon Country Dijon)*
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Cook tortellini and egg noodles according to package directions until al dente, drain, and set aside.
    2. Grease a 9”x12” glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
    3. In a large, deep sauté pan, melt 2 tbsp butter (reserve other 2 for panko topping) over medium-low heat, and cook celery until soft and slightly translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. Reduce heat to low, and gradually stir flour into celery/butter until well combined. Cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.
    5. Using a wooden spoon or whisk, carefully and gradually stir half and half and milk into flour mixture and continue to stir until completely combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, spices and drained tuna and increase heat to medium-low. Cook about 7 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Once thickened, add 1 cup cheddar (reserve other cup for topping casserole) and all of the parmesan, and stir to combine. Lastly, add frozen peas and dijon, and cook 2 minutes more, until thick and bubbly.
    6. Remove sauce from heat, and add cooked noodles and tortellini directly to the pan with the sauce (this is easiest if you work in batches). Toss to combine until all noodles are well coated.
    7. Melt remaining 2 tbs butter in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Add panko and toast, stirring occasionally, until panko is golden brown, about 3 minutes.
    8. Transfer noodle/sauce mixture to your greased baking dish and cover evenly with remaining 1 cup cheddar. Sprinkle toasted panko over the top, and transfer baking dish to the oven. Bake, uncovered for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Notes/Substitutions:

While Grey Poupon Country Dijon is my fav for this, 1/4 tsp dry mustard, or any dijon would work here as well.

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