We’re not sure if she had a thing for poultry & mushrooms in white sauce, but Italian coloratura soprano Luisa Tetrazzini was the namesake for this comforting dish. The darling of San Francisco Opera audiences from 1905 through the 1920s, Luisa did love to eat. She was also charmingly unapologetic about her resulting stout figure later in life, saying, “I am old. I am fat. But I am still Tetrazzini.” Long before her namesake dish was relegated to cafeteria steam-table-dom, elegant versions of the dish made it famous. (At least two hotels–the Knickerbocker in NYC and the Palace Hotel in San Francisco lay claim to having originated it.) Our home-cook-friendly version is rich, but cheese-less, letting the fresh mushrooms, tender turkey and sweet peppers speak for themselves.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
- 1 box fettucini or spaghetti noodles
- 6 cups water
- 2 tsp. salt
3 cups thinly sliced button, or baby bella mushrooms
- 1/2 onion (about 1 cup) finely chopped
- 1/4 cup green pepper, 1/4-inch dice
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 cups diced, cooked turkey
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tsp melted butter
- 1/2 cup soft breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- Make noodles: Sprinkle salt into water and heat water to boiling in a large pot. Break pasta into the boiling water and stir to prevent sticking. Cook until tender (about 12 minutes) Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Make sauce: Melt 3 Tbsp butter in heavy skillet. Add mushrooms, onions and green peppers and saute until just tender. (Don’t brown them.) Set aside. In a bowl, pour chicken stock over chopped turkey and let stand until the meat absorbs the broth somewhat. Melt remaining butter in saute pan. Whisk in flour and pepper and toast until lightly browned. Whisk in chicken broth and white wine. Stir until thickened. Turn off heat and mix in vegetables and turkey. Toss with prepared noodles and turn into a vegetable-spray-coated or buttered 2-quart casserole.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- While oven is preheating, melt 1 tsp of butter in microwave and mix with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and crumbs are golden brown.
- Serve with freshly-grated parmesan cheese, if you like.