Casserole - but uncooked noodles? Recipe?
I have a bachelor friend (about 50 y-o) who does not like to cook, but realizes he has to have some sustenance other than McDonalds or Long John Silvers. He is very picky, near as I can tell. Like, not many veggies other than maybe a tossed salad or corn. Now, he emailed me the other day and said he remembered his mom making tuna casserole, and did I know what canned soup she might have used in it.
I told him my preference for tuna noodle casserole was cream of mushroom, but second choice would be c-o-celery.
Then he emails me back and says, Well. All the recipes I am finding tell you to cook the noodles first, then stir into the rest. "And that's too much trouble for me."
So, CHs. Can you make tuna noodle casserole, in the "three or four cans and dump it all in and throw in oven" method, WITHOUT boiling the noodles first? I know there are methods for lasagna with uncooked noodles going right in with the sauce .. but I've never worked with uncooked pasta that way.
Understand, this is a guy who hates to cook, doesn't understand anything foodie (AT ALL!) and just wants to have a supper that might recreate what his late mother might have made him years ago. .. tia!
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Well, he could go to an Asian market and buy refrigerated noodles that are precooked and would work. Something tells me this guy is not an Asian market type of guy, however. Maybe he would be amenable to cooking a whole pound of noodles and freezing some for a futre use? This works well.
The first time I accompanied my son's Scout troop to summer camp as an Assistant Scoutmaster, I had the duty of overseeing dinner prep. The boys used laminated recipe cards that had been used by the troop for many years. One of them was a chicken and rice casserole that called for said ingredients (raw) to be cooked in a Dutch oven with chopped raw onion and Cream of Mushroom Soup (no liquid). I expressed skepticism, and the older boys said, yeah, it's always bad; the rice is crunchy. I suggested that they add a few cans of water to the mix, and all was well. But they had been eating this swill for 14 years!
Hey, you gotta start someplace. The guy has expressed an interest, and that's the first step.
I almost never cook pasta that's going to be baked in sauce, and my creations have received rave reviews from people with discerning palates. Besides, we're not looking for the ne plus ultra of tuna casserole here, are we? So it shouldn't be a problem.
The only issue will be moisture content. Noodles absorb at least their own weight in water when boiled. So he'll need to add some extra liquid. For half a pound of noodles, figure a cup of water, stock, wine, etc. Covering the casserole with foil for the first half-hour or so of cooking will ensure that noodles that stick up above the surface won't be too crunchy.
A tiny bit of trial and error may be required to get the desired results. But at least the guy will have one dish in his repertoire. Maybe he'll even be inspired to expand his horizons. Is the CIA holding its breath? Probably not. But still, it's never to late to become a competent cook.