I grew up with Chicken Tetrazzini and I absolutely HATED it. I dreaded it every Christmas when we went to West Texas. I have such amazing, truly classic holiday memories from all holidays out there, but not the tetrazzini, lol. When I say classic holidays I mean it was just magical for a kid. We would arrive and my grandmother would have Christmas music playing, the toy tree with the strawberry candies pinned to it and the big flocked tree would be decorated to the hilt. My granddad would wrap the huge pecan tree in the front yard with big blue lights and the house was lined in the colorful lights. It was just beautiful. We would pray for a West Texas snow to make it even prettier.
We would go to church on Christmas Eve with the ENTIRE family (all 27 of us) to this beautiful quintessential small town church-Second Baptist. I still remember the smell-pine trees and tradition. The service was gorgeous and ended with a candle light singing of Silent Night. After church we would pile into granddads suburban and head back to the house for dinner then packages. And Santa always made a visit! The doorbell would ring and we kids would RUN outside and look into the dark, crisp West Texas sky trying to find Santas sleigh. Christmas in Lubbock has very special memories for me. I miss it so much!
Anyway, back to the Tetrazzini…. my grandmother (Nanaw) was a depression era, strong lady who raised 4 amazing kids, but her cooking was depression era, lol. We always had frozen punch, that was made back in July, ambrosia salad (which I love) and tetrazzini. BUT, the tetrazzini was made in a a HUGE batch and she used canned cream of mushroom soup and canned mushrooms. It tasted fine, but it was so “canned” tasting and I hated it every year. BUT, just like all memories we remember the good parts and the memory of tetrazzini brings back a lot of sweet, innocent and happy memories for me. So, I decided to try and make tetrazzini with leftover turkey, but make it a bit more 2020 (oh hell I should not relate anything good to 2020-the year from HELL). What I mean is make it a bit more modern.
I have to say it was DELICIOUS and brought back so many memories. I used left over turkey from Thanksgiving, but you can use chicken. Use a rotisserie chicken and make it very easy! Or if you have leftover ham from the holidays use that! There are no rules! I added Sherry to just bring out the woody, rich flavor of the mushrooms, but you can use white wine or leave it out completely. BTW, I always have Sherry, Brandy and lower end (not too low, but not celebration level either) white and red wines in my cabinet. I cook with both of those liquors and the wines ALL the time. They just give recipes a depth of flavor you can’t get from other ingredients.
I know this ingredient list looks long, but I promise it is not a hard recipe and your family will love it!
I hope you enjoy! Please share your family childhood memories. I would love to hear them!!
A delicious meal using leftover turkey, chicken or ham. Rich and comforting!
- 12 oz spaghetti or linguini
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 12 oz package sliced mushrooms
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 3/4 cups half and half or whole milk if you want to reduce calories
- 2-3 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1/4 cup sherry (you can omit if you want to leave out the alcohol)
- 3 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey, chicken or ham
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cook pasta 1-2 minutes less than package directions (it wil cook more in the oven). Drain and keep to the side.
In an stove and oven safe dish (I like Le Crueset), cook the bacon. Remove bacon and chop.
In the bacon fat (if there is too much fat remove all but about 1 Tablespoon) add onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
Add mushrooms, herbs and 2 Tablespoons butter. Cook over medium-high heat until mishrooms have softened-about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture. Stir until you can no longer see the flour. It will be a huge gloppy pile of mushrooms/onions… thats OK! Cook stiring for about 1 minute. You are trying to "cook" the flour so you don't taste raw flour. You are creating a base for a thick and creamy sauce.
Add sherry and scrape up any stuff on the bottom of the pan.
Add broth and stir until the mixture becomes a sauce.
Add half and half (I never said this was low calorie).
Simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Add cooked pasta, turkey, peas and bacon to the sauce. Stir to combine. It will be thick. If it is just too thick add 1/4 cup more broth (if you are out of broth use water). You want it thick but not so thick that it is a glop. It will thicken more in the oven.
Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesean cheese.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup Parmesean cheese and Panko bread crumbs.
Sprinkle cheese and bread crumb mixture over turkey/pasta. Lightly drizzle olive oil over bread crumb mixutre.
Bake 30 minutes in oven until top is golden brown.