Turkey Tetrazzini

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.

Turkey Tetrazzini


Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 12 oz egg noodles, spaghetti, linguini or other pasta
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced (about 4-5 cups)
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided 3 Tbsp, 4 Tbsp, and 1 Tbsp
  • 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 4 Tbsp 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, chicken 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.

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Turkey Tetrazzini

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Showing 4 of 49 Comments

  • Kate

    This sounds like a great recipe. As a single person, I rarely make a whole turkey. Are there some options for finding 3 cups of turkey without having to make an huge quantity of turkey?

    Hi Kate – easy. This recipe will take about 2 1/2 lbs of turkey parts (thighs and legs are the best value and have the most flavor). Rub the pieces with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven at 300°F for 1 hour 20 minutes. Use a meat thermometer – get the turkey thighs and legs to 180°F and breast to 170°F. ~Elise

  • Wendy

    Do you have any suggestions for how to replace the mushrooms? My high maintenance kids won’t eat them, and they play such a prominent role in this recipe that I don’t think I can eliminate them entirely without throwing off the other measurements.

    I have many, many fond memories of turkey tetrazzini as a child, cooked by my mother who was a food snob, but still appreciated the occasional comfort food :)

  • RD

    I grew up in the “golden age” of casseroles
    and television – 1950’s, 60’s. My mom used to
    make this dish. It’s a bit of work,
    and uses up a lot of pots and pans, so
    get an early start on it.

    I used an already roasted chicken from
    Safeway, and plain dry bread crumbs to save time. And added some left-over fresh tarragon from a dish I made the night before. Also used spaghetti for the pasta as that was how my mom made it.

    Every one liked it, including my 11 year old
    son who usually is not a big fan of
    casseroles. All you need is a salad to go
    with it. Will make it again soon.

  • Erin

    I made this for dinner tonight with leftovers from thanksgiving. I got the email just as I was pondering what to do with my leftovers, so it was perfect! My husband loved it. Next time I need to remember to cook the noodles a little less than I did this time. I didn’t really take the baking time into account. But it was still delicious and we both had seconds :)

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