Tetrazzini is an American pasta dish made with diced poultry or seafood and mushrooms in a butter/cream and cheese sauce flavored with wine or sherry. It is served hot over linguine, spaghetti, egg noodles, or some other types of pasta, garnished with parsley, and sometimes topped with breadcrumbs, almonds, or cheese (or a combination). Tetrazzini can also be prepared as a baked noodle casserole.
The dish is believed to be named after the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini (1871–1940) an Italian coloratura soprano of great international fame. She enjoyed a highly successful operatic and concert career in Europe and America from the 1890s through to the 1920s.
This dish is widely believed to have been invented around 1908–1910 by Ernest Arbogast, the chef at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California, where Tetrazzini was a long-time resident. However, other sources attribute the origin to the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City. Good Housekeeping published the first reference to turkey tetrazzini in October 1908, saying readers could find the dish of cooked turkey in a cream sauce, with spaghetti, grated cheese, sliced mushrooms, and bread crumbs on top, at “the restaurant on Forty-second street.
Of course, there are many versions of this recipe and here is mine.
1 pound fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chopped cooked turkey
2 cups frozen peas
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried sage or poultry seasoning
1/4 cup sherry
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until just al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Stir in the turkey and peas and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, in a large deep skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, salt, and sage and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and begin to brown slightly about 2 minutes.
Pour in the sherry and stir to lift any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 minute, until the liquid evaporates.
Set aside the vegetables and return the skillet to the heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and let it melt, then sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook, stirring, until the flour has been absorbed and the mixture bubbles about 1 minute.
Gradually add the broth, stirring continuously, and when the mixture begins to thicken, add the milk and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes total.
Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the sauce over the pasta mixture in the large serving bowl. Stir in the mushroom mixture until well mixed.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and paprika with the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over the pasta mixture and serve immediately.
This dish may be prepared ahead. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the casserole is heated through and bubbling.