I have a lot of strong opinions about food based on information I’ve read about particular ingredients, nutritional benefits or preparation methods. My family hears the most about it, though I do occasionally step up on a soapbox in conversations from time to time.
I’ve had turkey tetrazzini before and loved it. Most are made with condensed soup. Bleh. Condensed soup, thanks to its incredible sodium content and long list of ingredients that aren’t meant to be pronounced or understood, has made it to numerous “don’t eat this” lists.
A few months ago, I discovered Cook’s Illustrated magazine and made my first recipe from it. That was all it took. Sign me up, send it to my house, these people know what they’re doing. Now I’ve got two sitting next to my recipe binder filled with post-its for things I’d like to try.
This turkey tetrazzini is for real. It’s made from scratch, not terribly difficult to make and WOW does it taste fantastic. It makes a pretty HUGE amount, but our family of 4 (with only 3 eaters) finished it off after having it for dinner and leftovers several times over. We couldn’t get enough of it.
You may see 4 cups of cooked turkey needed and think “Um, Mandi, it’s not Thanksgiving.” No problem. Go to your grocery store and purchase a boneless, skinless turkey breast. I got a great one at my local Whole Foods. One is all you’ll need. Trust me, they’re huge.
Turkey Tetrazzini (from Cook’s Illustrated “Make Ahead Recipes” special edition 2012)
– INGREDIENTS –
4 slices of white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
or 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti, broken into thirds
1 Tablespoon olive oil
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
16 ounces sliced white mushrooms
2 white onions, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme (or 1 T fresh)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
4 cups cooked turkey meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
– PREPARATION –
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. Process the bread and butter in a food processor until coarsely ground. Or, mix bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Cook pasta and 1 Tablespoon salt according to package directions, until al dente. Drain pasta and toss with oil. Leave pasta in colander and set aside.
3. Wipe pasta pot dry with paper towels, add butter and heat over medium-high until melted. Add mushrooms and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook mushrooms until they have released their juices and are brown around the edges, 7 to 10 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme and cayenne, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and half-and-half. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until lightly thickened, about 1 minute.
4. Remove from heat and whisk in Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add pasta, turkey and peas to the sauce. Stir to combine.
6. Pour into a 13 X 9 baking dish, or similar size casserole dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping.
7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until topping has browned.