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Tuna Tettrazini

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Tuna Tettrazini is a hearty casserole. The easy homemade cream sauce is the key to this delicious dish that’s perfect for an easy weeknight dinner or entertaining. Double (or triple) the batch because you’ll definitely want enough for leftovers!

I received complimentary product, but the opinions are all mine.
This post and recipe card updated February 15, 2020
overhead shot of finished Tuna Tettrazini in a white bowl with a blue napkin and large fork on the left side, plus raw carrots, mushrooms and parsley in the background

I don’t recall my parents ever making tuna recipes when I was a kid, so I don’t think I ever ate it. As a young adult, I ate it primarily in tuna fish sandwiches, and then I had a few staple lunch recipes so I always have tuna in the pantry.

Tuna is light, healthy, delicious and versatile, and you could even eat it straight out of the can. My go-to is solid white albacore tuna, because of the thick, meaty chunks.

I was that kid…my food couldn’t touch on the plate, and if it did I wouldn’t eat the part that was touching. Even so, I still liked casseroles and other stuffed, baked goodness.

I have a few tuna recipes on the blog, but I’m always looking for new twists, and that’s how I created Tuna Tettrazini

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • You can make it ahead, and bake as needed
  • It’s great for weeknight dinner, potlucks, and leftovers
  • The easy homemade cream sauce adds incredible flavor
overhead close up shot of finished Tuna Tettrazini in a white bowl with a blue napkin and large fork on the left side. Bowl is offset

When I knock it out of the park with a new dish, I dance around the kitchen. And yes, this Tuna Tettrazini made me dance! 

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT TUNA TETTRAZINI

I use Solid White Albacore Tuna because I really like the meaty chunks and hearty texture. Sustainability matters, so I always look for wild-caught tuna.

Make your own cream sauce. Yes, you could use store-bought, but it is very easy to make your own and it’s so much more flavorful. It takes a little patience, but it’s well worth it.

I use Homemade Vegetable Broth, milk and heavy cream as the base of the sauce. I’ve used almond milk and regular milk interchangeably. If you use store-bought broth, look for low sodium or no salt added.

Traditional tuna casserole only uses mushrooms and peas. I add carrots, celery, red onion and garlic in my Tuna Tettrazini. I also saute the vegetables first, to slightly soften them and bring out the flavors.

Use a sturdy pasta to stand up to the other ingredients. I use Bucatini. It’s a long pasta like spaghetti, but thicker and it has a hole down the middle.

Use Whole Nutmeg and grate it into the skillet. Freshly grated nutmeg has so much more flavor than ground.

I like to top the Tuna Tettrazini with Corn Flake Crumbs right before baking. You could also use regular bread crumbs.

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Break dry Bucatini noodles into thirds. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook for 10 minutes. They will be VERY al dente, but will finish cooking in the oven. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Remove vegetable mixture and set aside.

Add remaining butter and whisk over medium-low heat until melted. Add flour and whisk constantly until smooth and no lumps remain

overhead process shot: melted butter and flour roux in a black skillet with a whisk

Slowly pour in the broth, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Add milk and whisk for 2 minutes. Add heavy cream and whisk for 3-4 minutes, until thickened.

overhead process shot: milk, broth and heavy cream mixed into the roux in a black skillet, with a whisk on the side

Sprinkle in salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried thyme. Grate nutmeg directly into the skillet. Return sauteed vegetables to the skillet and also add frozen peas.

overhead process shot: peas, vegetables and seasonings added to cream sauce in a black skillet

Stir everything together, and add drained tuna and fresh-grated Parmesan

overhead process shot: tuna and Parmesan added to cream sauce mixture

Stir well to combine all the ingredients, and add Bucatini

overhead process shot: pasta added to mixture in a black skillet

Use tongs to combine everything together. Transfer mixture to an 8×8 baking dish. Top with corn flake crumbs

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Serve immediately

close up angle shot of a scoop of Tuna Tettrazini on a white plate, with a metal fork angled on the plate
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can you substitute half and half for the heavy cream? You can, but then you’ll definitely need to use regular milk. The sauce won’t thicken enough with almond milk.

Can you use frozen mixed vegetables instead of fresh? Yes, you can. This recipe uses frozen peas already, so you would just omit the sauteed vegetables at the beginning.

Can you use a different style of tuna? You can use your favorite tuna. Make sure to only use tuna packed in water, not in oil.

What about leftovers? Make a double batch, and keep the rest in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftovers will last 5-7 days.

MORE DELICIOUS TUNA RECIPES
MORE CASSEROLES & COMFORT FOOD
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overhead shot of finished Tuna Tettrazini in a white bowl, with a blue napkin and large fork on the left side

Tuna Tettrazini

Yield: 4 people
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Tuna Tettrazini is a hearty casserole. The easy homemade cream sauce is the key to this delicious dish that’s perfect for an easy weeknight dinner or entertaining. Double (or triple) the batch because you’ll definitely want enough for leftovers!

Ingredients

CREAM SAUCE

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Break dry Bucatini into thirds. Add to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. WILL BE VERY AL DENTE. Drain and set aside
  3. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened slightly. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next, add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to a bowl
  4. Add remaining 2 Tablespoons butter to the skillet, and melt. Add flour and whisk constantly over medium-low heat, until well combined and smooth.
  5. Slowly add vegetable broth, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Add milk and whisk for 1 minute. Add heavy cream and whisk for 3-4 minutes, until thickened. Turn off heat.
  6. Add salt, pepper, onion powder garlic powder, and dried thyme. Grate nutmeg directly into the skillet. Add sauteed vegetables and frozen peas. Mix well to combine.
  7. Add drained tuna and Parmesan, and mix together.
  8. Add pasta, and combine well. I use tongs for easier mixing.
  9. Transfer mixture to an 8x8 baking dish. Top with corn flake crumbs
  10. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Top with just a little more Parmesan cheese immediately before serving

Notes

MILK: I've used regular milk and almond milk interchangeably.

BROTH: I use homemade. If you use store-bought, look for low sodium or no salt added.

Use whole nutmeg and grate it into the skillet. It has so much more flavor this way.

If you don't have corn flake crumbs, you can substitute breadcrumbs.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can you substitute half and half for the heavy cream? You can, but then you’ll definitely need to use regular milk. The sauce won’t thicken enough with almond milk.

Can you use frozen mixed vegetables instead of fresh? Yes, you can. This recipe uses frozen peas already, so you would just omit the sauteed vegetables at the beginning.

Can you use a different style of tuna? You can use your favorite tuna. Make sure to only use tuna packed in water, not in oil.

What about leftovers? Make a double (or triple) batch, and keep the rest in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftovers will last 5-7 days. I eat individual portions as leftovers, and reheat them in the microwave.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 526Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 867mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 31g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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