True story! This recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini was created for Luisa Tetrazzini, a famous and beloved opera singer who lived in San Francisco for many years. The story is told that Chef Ernest Arbogast developed the dish just for her when he was the chef at the Palace Hotel in that city by the bay.
The dish proved to be as popular as the singer! In October 1908, Good Housekeeping magazine featured a recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini. They described it as a dish of cooked turkey in a cream sauce, with spaghetti, grated cheese, sliced mushrooms, and bread crumbs on top.
This recipe for turkey tetrazzini is such a great thing to do with Thanksgiving or Easter leftovers! It has infinitely more pizazz than soup or sandwiches! Papa doesn't care for turkey, but he enjoys it in this dish!
I was a Camp Fire Girl when I was eleven years old. The name of our troop, made up of fifth-grade girls, was AO-Wa-Kiya. Our leader was Mrs. Lane, a very intelligent and sophisticated woman. Mrs. Lane wanted us to learn how to cook. I'm unsure why she chose it, but we made this recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini.
Oh, heavenly days, we thought we were big stuff in our little aprons! We served this dish to our mothers at a luncheon. I served this dish when my husband's parents met my family for the first time, so I'm kind of sentimental about it!
When I set out to recreate this dish, I wanted to make the very tastiest turkey tetrazzini possible with fewer steps, fewer dishes to wash, and more depth of flavor than my 1962 recipe!
Begin by sauteeing some peppers and onion in butter. This step adds lots of color and flavor. Use any color of peppers; the more colorful, the better. If you find bell peppers on sale sometime, grab them and freeze them. It's so easy; you can saute them right from the freezer!
Now add a can of mushroom soup plus one soup can of whole milk and two cans of water. Heck, who needs a measuring cup? When you use the soup can to measure, you get every bit of goody out of the can, and there's no measuring cup to wash! (A regular soup can is 10.75 ounces or about one and a third cups.)
Add two heaping tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon turkey base to the pan. I also added a vegetable bouillon cube for extra flavor. Better Than Bouillon makes a good vegetable base, but my favorite brand is Knorr Vegetable Flavor Base.
I love the product so much for so many recipes I buy online in a restaurant-size pack. I use it for a lot of my soup recipes! It has a long shelf life and I share it with my kids and friends sometimes!
If you are a mushroom fan, Papa is not; add a small can of sliced mushrooms, drained, or you can saute fresh ones with the peppers.
Break the spaghetti in thirds and add the dry spaghetti to the pan. The shorter spaghetti lengths are much easier to eat and less messy to serve from the casserole.
Cover the pan tightly and let it simmer for about twenty minutes. It is important to stir the pan occasionally to ensure the spaghetti is tender and doesn't clump together. You may need to add a little more milk or water as the spaghetti absorbs the liquid.
While that is cooking, cut the turkey into approximately one-inch cubes and put them in the bottom of a greased baking dish. Pour the creamy spaghetti mixture on top of the turkey and stir it up a bit.
Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese and shredded parmesan on top. I always recommend shredding cheese from a block to avoid the additive in pre-shredded cheese. The coating that keeps the shreds from sticking together in the package also makes the cheese melt less smoothly.
And parsley, of course! Add some parsley! I call it "green magic" because somehow it makes everything taste better!
All that's left to do is pop it in a hot oven, about 425 degrees, for 20 minutes or so. It only needs to bake long enough for the cheese to get lightly browned and bubbly!! I love serving turkey tetrazzini with broccoli, green beans, or peas for added color.
You'd like to try the recipe for turkey tetrazzini, but what if you don't have any leftover turkey? You don't want to struggle with a whole turkey? Not a problem! Good news! Frozen turkey breast is often inexpensive, lean, and an excellent source of protein.
It takes very little effort to cook a turkey breast. You can easily make tender, flavorful turkey in an Instant Pot or Crock-Pot when you aren't concerned about presentation.
Or you can make Chicken Tetrazzini instead! Cook up some chicken breast in the Instant Pot and use your electric mixer to shred it amazingly fast! Substitute Better Than Bouillon in their roasted chicken flavor, and you've got this!
No time for that, even? Use canned or rotisserie chicken to make this creamy, cheesy, delicious dish fast enough for a weeknight!! Tuna Tetrazzini is really tasty, too, and all you need to do is open a can! Give it a try! It's kid-friendly and great to pack for a delicious lunch; any leftovers reheat beautifully in the microwave!
This dish can be made with chicken or tuna with great results!
I've mentioned how much I love cooking once and eating twice or more! Papa and I have a surprisingly busy life for someone of retirement age! (Retirement? What's that?)
If you liked this recipe, you are my people! And if you like this recipe, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! It would sure tickle me, and I would be ever so grateful!
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Love, GB (Betty Streff)
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