Warm and cozy casserole lovers, plus anyone with leftover turkey from a holiday feast, won’t want to miss this family-friendly recipe for Easy Turkey Tetrazzini that stars shredded turkey, veggies and pasta in a garlicky cheese sauce. (Pro Tip: Rotisserie chicken is a welcome substitute!)
One of my favorite party tricks is transforming leftovers into something just as spectacular (if not more so!) than the original dish. Holidays are prime time for showing of these skills, and I’ve certainly done my homework when it comes to remaking everything from leftover mashed potatoes to surplus stuffing to extra turkey. And that’s how we’ve arrived here, at my all-time favorite way to make the most of leftover turkey or store-bought rotisserie chicken: easy, cheesy, vegetable-studded Turkey Tetrazzini!
What Is Turkey Tetrazzini?
Despite its Italian-sounding name, Turkey Tetrazzini is a delicious and entirely American invention. There are many fun theories as to where the dish originated. One theory is that a chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco named the dish after Italian opera singer, Luisa Tetrazzini, who was a resident of the hotel for many years. An alternate theory traces the dish to the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York, where another chef is rumored to have named the dish after the same famous opera singer.
Add to goals: Inspire someone to name a casserole after me.
What Can I Substitute for Shredded Turkey?
No turkey? No problem. Shredded chicken would also be perfect, especially if you’ve got one of those amazing grocery store rotisserie chickens on hand. Canned tuna would also work, as would creamy cannellini beans if you want to go the vegetarian route with this recipe.
Can It Be Frozen?
Absolutely! Tetrazzini is the perfect make-ahead meal. If you want to freeze after baking, just make sure your casserole is cooled before freezing. Letting it fully cool in the fridge for a day will help get rid of any excess moisture.
If freezing before baking (or you have a cooled casserole), simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap first, then cover it securely with aluminum foil to keep it safe from any ice crystals forming on top. Once you’re ready to bake, you can thaw your casserole out overnight in the fridge and bake as directed.Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes, meal plans and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
For the breadcrumb topping:
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the Turkey Tetrazzini:
- 1 pound uncooked pasta, such as rotini, spaghetti or linguini
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing baking dish
- 1 1/2 cups diced baby bella mushrooms
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth or turkey stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
- 4 cups cooked, shredded turkey (See Kelly’s Note)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Make the breadcrumb topping:
- In a medium skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter with the thyme leaves. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook just until toasted, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl then stir in the Parmesan cheese. Set the breadcrumb topping aside.
Make the Turkey Tetrazzini:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish with unsalted butter.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
- In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven set over medium-low heat, add the butter, mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken stock and heavy cream, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce it to a simmer and cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the white cheddar cheese, shredded turkey and peas then taste and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the cooked pasta then transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top then bake until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and the mixture is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- No turkey? No problem! Swap in shredded rotisserie chicken and continue with the recipe as directed.
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