Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini is a creamy pasta casserole made with spaghetti, turkey (or chicken), mushrooms, and lots of Parmesan in a flavorful sauce!
What’s the best thing about leftover turkey? According to A Christmas Story, it’s turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey gravy, turkey hash, turkey a la king, and gallons of turkey soup! For our family, we love Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini!
As the title of this post suggests, this hearty pasta bake can be made with turkey or chicken. So, if you don’t have any leftover turkey, or if it’s hard to find, you can always substitute the turkey with chicken.
Either way, this chicken or turkey tetrazzini is a tasty casserole that has become a favorite comfort food classic! I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does!
What’s the Original Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe?
Legend says this dish is named after Luisa Tetrazzini, a famous opera singer from the 1900s. For now, no one really knows who created it. And, it seems like the original recipe has been lost.
As a result, there are so many variations of Tetrazzini. I’m sharing the way my dad taught me to make it! We’ve made it with canned soups, but our family prefers it with a homemade roux sauce.
Most of the time we like to add mushrooms, but we rarely add any other vegetables like peas or broccoli. But, we still add lots and lots of Parmesan cheese!
Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini Prep Tips
As mentioned earlier, our family likes to make this with leftover turkey or chicken. However, if you don’t have precooked meat, you can brown the meat in a separate pan. Or you could also use rotisserie chicken.
In our Turkey Tetrazzini, we like to use spaghetti noodles. Other recipes use egg noodles, but those can become too soggy once they are baked. When boiling your pasta, use the minimum recommended cooking time. This will prevent the noodles from becoming overcooked when they are baked.
When it comes to the sauce, my family likes a lot of it. We’re not fans of dry pasta. So, when preparing the recipe, it will look like a lot of sauce. But once it bakes, a lot of the liquid will be absorbed by the pasta. Then, you’ll have the perfect, creamy pasta.
When making your roux, don’t skip cooking the flour for 2-3 minutes. This step is necessary to cook out the raw flour taste. Also, be sure to whisk your sauce immediately when you add the liquid. This will prevent your sauce from clumping.
Rather than using chicken broth, we use chicken bouillon or chicken base. These tend to have much stronger flavor than chicken broth. In fact, my dad will often add even more chicken bouillon to his meat when he cooks it to add even more flavor.
For this recipe, I love using 9″ x 13″ baking dish. It allows more of Parmesan topping to brown and crisp! Plus, it allows everything to spread out and cook more evenly.
Want More Leftover Turkey Recipes?
Tetrazzini is one of my mom’s favorite recipes. It is always something she requests when we are meal planning. Leave me a comment below and let me know how it turns out for you.
If you’re looking for other recipes using leftover turkey, give these a try:
Additionally, if you love this recipe, give my Italian Creamed Beef with Buttered Pasta a try! It has some of the same flavor profiles, and it’s delicious!
Or to check out all my casserole recipes, click here.
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Turkey (or Chicken) Tetrazzini
- 2 cups Turkey or Chicken Cooked, Cubed
- 8 oz Spaghetti Dry, Broken in Half
- 8 oz Mushrooms Sliced
- 6 tbsp Butter Divided
- 5 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Chicken Bouillon (or the equivalent to make 2 cups broth)
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 2 tbsp Cooking Sherry (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt Plus More To Taste
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper Plus More to Taste
- 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese Divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large pot, bring 4 – 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to taste (about 1 tsp). Add spaghetti noodles to pot, and stir gently. Return to a boil, and cook pasta as directed using minimum cooking time (about 7 minutes).
- Before draining noodles, reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid*. Drain noodles over a colander in the sink.
- While the pasta is cooking, add 2 tbsp butter and mushrooms to a large skillet. Cook for about 6-8 minutes until mushrooms are tender and browned. Remove mushrooms from skillet, and set aside.
- To the same skillet, add the flour and the remaining 4 tbsp of butter. While whisking, cook the flour for 2-3 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Add the chicken bouillon, about 1/2 tsp salt, about 1/2 tsp of black pepper, 2 cups reserved pasta water. Bring mixture to a simmer (about 2-3 minutes). Remove skillet from heat, and add the heavy cream and cooking sherry. Whisk to combine.
- To a 9" x 13" baking dish, add the drained pasta, the cooked mushrooms, and the turkey or chicken. Sprinkle with a 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Pour the sauce on top of the pasta, and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese on top of the noodles.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened, and the cheese starts to brown.
- Remove baking dish from the oven, and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese on top of the tetrazzini and serve!