Tetrazzini is an American pasta dish that includes a cream sauce, mushrooms, and either chicken, turkey, or seafood. It is thought to have been invented in San Francisco and named after the famous opera singer of the early 1900s, Luisa Tetrazzini, who lived there for many years.
To my mother however, Turkey Tetrazzini is just another way of saying turkey casserole. In her opinion casseroles are passé; she hasn’t made one in twenty years. (Note to readers – my mother is anything but a snob, although she can sound like one at times. Note to my mother’s friends – she loves your casseroles.) Fortunately, neither my father nor I could care less if something is “in” or “out”; all we care about is whether or not we like it (and by the way, mom used to make a wicked good tuna casserole). I made this for them the other night and judging by my dad’s three servings, it passes with flying colors. It’s a great way to use up turkey leftovers.
- 12 oz egg noodles, spaghetti, linguini or other pasta
- 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 4-5 cups)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- 1/4 cup cream
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup dry sherry (or vermouth or dry white wine)
- 3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey
- 1 cup peas
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan (divided into 1/3 and 1/3 cups)
- 1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper
- Ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (or panko)
- Freshly chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Start heating 2 to 3 quarts of water for the pasta. Add 1 teaspoon of salt for each quart of water.
2 Cook the mushrooms in 3 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat, stirring, until all of the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated, 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
3 In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter. Stir in the flour, and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes.
4 About now, put the pasta into the boiling water you've heated. Follow the package directions and cook until al dente. While the pasta is cooking continue on with the recipe.
5 Into the saucepan with the butter and flour, slowly whisk in the milk, cream, broth, and the sherry. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 to 8 minutes.
6 When the pasta is ready, drain it. In a large bowl combine the pasta, the sauce, the mushrooms, the turkey, and the peas. Stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan and the 1/3 cup of Swiss cheese. Stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note that if you have been using unsalted butter, and/or unsalted or low sodium stock, you will need to add more salt than you might expect. Just keep sprinkling it in until it is seasoned to your taste. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg if using, again to taste. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 3-quart casserole.
7 In a small bowl combine well the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the tetrazzini, and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits.
8 Bake the Tetrazzini in the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden.
Garnish individual servings with chopped parsley.