A comfort-filled classic, the traditional dish features a cast of hefty characters—cream, cheese, and noodles—and delivers nearly 700 calories and a day’s worth of sat fat with just one helping. In an attempt to introduce fresher ingredients while staying true to the classic, we start by bolstering the filling with meaty mushrooms, lots of aromatics, and herbs. Tomato paste adds a tangy counterpoint to the creamy, noodle-coating sauce, while Dijon mustard and lemon zest add zing. Canned tuna is a pantry staple that takes center stage in our remake (with just as many beneficial omega-3s as fresh). In lieu of a breadcrumb or potato chip topper, we use fresh dill and sharp cheddar to round out this dinner with bright flavor and cheesy goodness for less sodium.
12 ounces uncooked whole-wheat egg noodles
1 tablespoon canola oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons lemon zest plus 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 (4-oz.) cans unsalted albacore tuna in water, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook noodles according to package instructions until very al dente, omitting salt and fat. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium. Add mushrooms; cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook until tender, about 4 more minutes. Add thyme; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Add butter; stir to melt. Whisk in flour; cook until roux is golden, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; whisk in milk, tomato paste, mustard, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Return to a simmer; simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Pour mixture into bowl with noodles. Stir in tuna and dill.
Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer tuna mixture to baking dish; top with cheese. Bake at 375°F until bubbly and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with dill.
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