I am up to my ears in Turkey Tetrizzini, my mother and I made one on Saturday night, my husband and I ate the leftovers on Sunday and I made it again to freeze with the last of the leftover turkey and ended up with three. THREE. I couldn’t justify freezing three turkey tetrizzini, so we ended up eating yet another for dinner on Tuesday night. I wonder though, how long will those other two be sitting in the freezer before we want to see it again?
Turkey tetrizzini is a classic, one of those recipes that you can find in old cookery books from the 1950’s. My mother’s recipe was passed down from her Aunt Fay, a legend in my mind with stories told to me about her 5th avenue apartment in Manhattan, her knack for making stylish cloths for wealthy women and being married to my great-grandfather’s brother, who was a composer for Hollywood movies in the 40’s & 50’s. I’ve never even seen a picture of this woman, I imagine her to be a Greta Garbo beauty, I always loved to hear stories about her. Knowing that this recipe was hers makes me love it so much I will eat it thrice in one week.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 8 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced (baby bellas would be nice too)
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 2 cups leftover turkey or chicken, chopped into small pieces
- 4 or 5 sage leaves, torn into pieces
- 1 lb fettucine or linguine
- salt to taste and plenty for the pasta water
for the béchamel:
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups milk
- 1 tbsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 heaping cup of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium-high heat and add onions, cook until the onions are transparent, stirring frequently. Add the mushrooms, let them release their juices for a few minutes before adding the white wine. Cook over medium-low heat adding the sage leaves and the turkey when the water for the pasta is boiling, you just want it to heat through. In the meantime prepare the béchamel sauce and heat the water for the pasta.
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Pour in all the milk, whisking constantly until it starts to boil. Season with salt and nutmeg, lower the heat, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the parmigiano reggiano.
Once the water starts to boil for the pasta add a small handful of salt to the water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 or 7 minutes, you want it to be a bit undercooked because it will continue cooking in the oven.
Drain the pasta and combine the béchamel, the onions, mushrooms and turkey in the pot for the pasta. Mix well and transfer the pasta into a buttered 9″ x 13″ baking dish. You can top it with breadcrumbs and more parmigiano if you like.
Preheat the oven to 350° and bake the tetrizzini for 30 minutes, letting it sit for 10 minutes before serving.