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Turkey Tetrazzini

Ahhh, the mother of all casseroles.  But let me assure everyone that this is not the turkey tetrazzini you may remember from your middle school cafeteria.  No indeed, this is terrific and it's a keeper!  After a big party I wound up with a ton of leftover turkey so I started casting about for ideas and turned up this recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  Having great experience with them in the past I figured this was going to turn out pretty well and it didn't disappoint.  In fact, the whole family loved it.  I modified the original slightly, using breadcrumbs instead of making fresh ones, substituting wild mushrooms for the white buttons (but either way is fine) and I punched up the salt.

½ cup   Panko breadcrumbs (or make your own)
¼ teaspoon   salt
1½ tablespoons   unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup   Parmesan cheese, grated
6 tablespoons   unsalted butter
3 cups   mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
2 medium   onions, diced
¾ pound   spaghetti or other long-strand pasta, strands snapped in half
¼ cup AP flour
2 cups   chicken broth (use low-sodium if possible)
¼ cup   dry sherry
¾ cup   Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon   grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons   juice from 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon   dried thyme
1-10 ounce pkg   frozen peas
4 cups   leftover cooked boneless turkey or chicken meat, cut into bite sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the topping adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix breadcrumbs, salt, and butter in small baking dish; bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and mix with ¼ cup grated Parmesan in small bowl. Set aside.

Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat until foaming subsides; add mushrooms and onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until onions soften and mushroom liquid evaporates, 12 to 15 minutes.

Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste; transfer to medium bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup cooking water, drain spaghetti, and return to pot with reserved liquid.

While the pasta is cooking make the sauce.  Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in cleaned skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour turns golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, gradually add chicken stock.

Simmer until mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in sherry, Parmesan, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, and thyme.

Add sauce, sautéed vegetables, peas, and meat to spaghetti and mix well; adjust seasonings to taste. Turn mixture into a greased (Pam is fine) 13- x 9-inch baking dish (or other shallow, ovenproof dish of similar size), sprinkle evenly with reserved breadcrumbs, and bake until breadcrumbs brown and mixture is bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.



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