Recipe: Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini
Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini is a delicious dish that is said to be named after famed opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini. It’s a wonderful casserole type dish, made popular in the golden age of casseroles of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Surely it is one of the best comfort foods that families have loved for generations.
The wonderful thing about Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini is that it can make great use of leftover chicken or turkey. There are numerous recipes out there for it…. some use cream of mushroom or chicken soup as a shortcut for the sauce, while others make a sauce from scratch. Variations also include using different cheeses, such as Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese or Parmesan, some don’t use cheese at all.
I have several recipes for Tetrazzini and the one I’m posting today is one that makes the sauce from scratch and uses Swiss cheese. I like to use a ¼ cup sherry in the sauce, as well, however I didn’t use it this time because the person I made this for doesn’t care for alcohol or wine in most dishes, so I simply substituted some of the chicken broth I had from when I cooked the chicken breasts…. I don’t feel the dish suffered from the substitution.
I wanted to make the dish and didn’t have leftover chicken or turkey, so I prepared 3 rather large boneless chicken breast halves and diced them. While it added to the work… it was well worth it. I will include how I cooked the chicken in my directions. However, you can make your chicken or turkey any way you prefer.
You can prepare all or parts of this dish ahead, which can make the time to prepare the dish a bit more manageable. I made all the steps all at once.
Quick timesaving tip:
I boiled my spaghetti in a large pot, then after draining the spaghetti, I used the same pot to sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms. After removing the onion mixture, I simply wiped out the pot and used it to make the sauce. This saved lots of clean-up time and made all the pots and pans manageable.
I used a very large bowl to “dump” my ingredients into so it was easier to toss the ingredients to combine them. After finishing the sauce in the large pot…. I simply dumped the bowl contents into the pot and mixed it…. it made it much easier to get the ingredients evenly distributed.
To make this efficiently, I put the chicken breasts on to cook first. I also boiled my spaghetti. While they were cooking, I set the milk and heavy cream out to come to room temperature and then sliced and chopped everything that needed to be and set them aside so they would be ready.
I used my mini chopper to chop the onions, garlic and parsley to save time. First I chopped the parsley and removed it… then I chopped the onions and garlic together.
I set up my large bowl, so as ingredients were finished I could simply dump them in.
I broke the spaghetti in half before I put it in to the water to cook…. it makes eating this dish easier.
I hope you try this wonderful recipe.
Recipe: Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini
All you need:
To Prepare the Chicken:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 ½ cups chicken broth
1 carrot, peeled and cut into three pieces
½ medium onion, cut into wedges
1 celery stalk including the leaves, if available, cut into 3-4 pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1-2 sprigs of parsley
The rest of the ingredients:
12 ounces spaghetti, broken in half and cooked according to pkg. directions
7 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
¼ cup sherry (optional) can substitute chicken broth instead of sherry
1 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup flour
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1 ¾ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon pepper
½ cup shredded Sargento Artisan Blend Swiss and Gruyere Cheese
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup Progressive Italian style bread crumbs
All you need to do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking oil (butter flavored preferred).
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions… make sure you make it “al dente”… it should still be a bit chewy,otherwise it will be too soft after the casserole bakes.
Drain the spaghetti in a colander and run cold water over it to cook it down quickly. When completely drained put in a large bowl.
Cook the chicken by your preferred method….
If using my method… place all the ingredients listed above under “To Prepare the Chicken” in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Simmer about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
Remove the chicken to a plate to cool enough to handle.
Dice the chicken.
Put the chicken in the large bowl.
Put the peas in the large bowl.
In the pot you cooked the spaghetti in, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Add the garlic and onions. Cook until the onions are almost translucent.
Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are cooked and most of the waster from the mushrooms is evaporated.
Add the ¼ cup sherry or ¼ cup chicken broth (if using the chicken broth, I use the strained broth from what I cooked the chicken in…. you can also use just plain chicken broth if you prefer).
Simmer until the sherry evaporates (about 2 minutes)…. If using the chicken broth it won’t evaporate as easily… you will need to remove the mushrooms and onion mixture with a slotted spoon.
Add the mushroom mixture to the large bowl.
Wipe out the pot and use it to make the sauce. Melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium low heat.
Add 1/3 cup flour and whisk for about 2 minutes to incorporate, it will be paste-like. This will remove any “floury” taste.
Whisk in the milk, whisking vigorously until all the lumps are gone and it is smooth.
Whisk in the cream, 1 cup chicken broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Turn the heat to high.
Add the Swiss cheese and stir until melted, whisking constantly.
Allow sauce to come to an almost boil, turn down heat to medium high and simmer, whisking constantly until thickened.
Remove from heat.
Gently toss the contents of the large bowl to completely mix ingredients.
Carefully dump the bowl contents into the sauce pot.
Gently stir to incorporate the sauce completely.
Pour into the prepared 9 x 13 baking dish.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter ( I use a glass measuring cup covered with waxed paper and melt in the microwave on high for a 30 seconds).
In a small bowl combine the Parmesan cheese, Italian bread crumbs and melted butter.
Sprinkle topping over the casserole.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until topping is toasted and casserole is bubbly.
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