A tuna sandwich is one thing – a great thing – but a tuna melt takes it to the next level with plenty of melty cheese and slices of fresh juicy tomatoes. And this casserole… well, this casserole takes all of those great things – hearty tuna, cheesiness, and bright tomatoes – and pairs them with the carby goodness of pasta. The tuna melt flavors are all there, just in the comforting form of casserole!
There aren’t a lot of components here to worry about but the handful that are included work together so well. You start by sauteeing some onions until they’re soft, and then adding some flour and milk to form the base of the simple but creamy sauce.
This wouldn’t be a Tuna Melt Casserole without the tuna, and that gets stirred into some cooked rigatoni along with some Swiss and cheddar.
Fresh sliced tomatoes cover the top, along with another dusting of the two cheeses.
As it bakes, everything gets hot and bubbly, so you get the same delicious creamy, melty action that you get with the sandwich version.
You could grill up a bunch of tuna melts for your family on a busy weeknight, sure. I’m certainly not saying there’s anything wrong with sandwiches. But… you could opt instead to make something just as comforting and just as delicious that happens to come out of a single baking dish, like our Tuna Melt Casserole!
Tuna Melt Casserole
Serves 6; 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes cook time
- 16 oz large rigatoni
- 1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 oz chunk tuna in water, drained and flaked
- 3 medium to large tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta 2 minutes less than package directions call for. Drain and return to pot. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup each of the Swiss and cheddar cheeses until melted.
- Pour cheese sauce over pasta, add tuna, and stir to combine. Transfer to baking dish and top with tomato slices and remaining cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake until hot and bubbly, 20 minutes. Remove foil and return to oven until cheese is melted and golden brown. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Noshing with the Nolands.