Normally, I have a thing against most TV chefs. I’ve watched Rachael Ray’s show a few times, and was a bit put off, because she talks 500 mph and doesn’t really focus on food. It’s more of a talk show.
Well, I have to admit, I found a recipe of hers that I like. I of course made some modifications, because I always find something odd in her recipes that I’ve seen. In this case, it was cannellini beans. The texture of those beans and this casserole seemed like two things that should stay far away from each other! Also, it is important to bring the chicken stock to a boil before adding to the onion/flour mixture because it dissolves the flour more readily and keeps it from clumping. Here is the original recipe. Note my changes below:
1 box gluten free rice pasta
1 Tb. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tb. Butter
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 small Onion, chopped
2 Tb. Flour
1 c. Chicken Stock
1 c. Half and Half
Salt and ground black pepper
Pinch of Nutmeg
1/4 c. Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
1/2 c. grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus some for topping
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 6-oz. cans tuna in olive oil, drained*
*Yes, I know the tuna in water is healthier, but it is so DRY! As Julia Child once said, “We Americans go for flavor, not nutrition.”
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil.
In a separate pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil.
Cook the onion in the butter/olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for about 1 minute more.
Add the flour to the skillet, and cook, stirring for about two minutes (until starts to turn golden).
Whisk in the chicken stock, then half and half.
Season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Bring it up to a bubble and thicken.
Remove from heat and fold in the parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano, spinach, tuna, and pasta.
Pour the mixture into a 13 x 9 ” baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.
Place in the oven to brown for approximately 10 minutes.
This may be frozen for up to three months. Just thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven.