Make Turkey Tetrazzini with your leftovers

It is believed to be named for Italian opera star
The finished dish, after topping with cheesy breadcrumbs.
The finished dish, after topping with cheesy breadcrumbs.

You may not need a way to finish up your leftover turkey but some do, and an old favorite way to do it is by making Turkey Tetrazzini. It is believed to be named for the Italian opera star Lousia Tetrazzini, who was popular in the United States around the time this dish was first named in print by Good Housekeeping magazine in 1908.

I didn’t have much experience with casseroles until I moved upstate from Long Island, and was quite surprised the first time someone served this for dinner. It was turkey … with spaghetti. But it works, I discovered, as soon as I took a bite.

Recipes abound online and in your cookbooks, with many variations, but the turkey and pasta stay the same. Some make a creamy cheese sauce, some, like mine, use a roux to thicken cream and broth. I used sherry, which has a strong flavor, but you don’t have to. I topped mine with cheesy breadcrumbs just because I like them.

Turkey Tetrazzini

4 cups turkey, torn or cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 pound fettucini, broken in half, or other pasta
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 cup milk or cream
2 Tbsp. sherry (optional)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup Panko or other breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Evenly distribute turkey in bottom of casserole or oven-safe serving dish.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp. butter over medium-low heat and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are done, but not browned. Add flour to make a roux, cook mixture over medium heat for a few minutes, until light brown.

Add broth and milk or cream, sherry, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 10 minutes, until mixture is thickened.

Add cooked pasta and peas to saucepan and mix well. Pour over cooked turkey in casserole.

Make breadcrumbs: Melt one Tbsp. butter in a small bowl. Add panko or breadcrumbs and grated cheese, toss.  Sprinkle over casserole.

Cover with foil, bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until hot.

Serves 4 to 6

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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