This Turkey Tetrazzini is your must-try turkey leftover recipe this year! It’s is an updated, from scratch version without any canned soups, just tender chunks of turkey, sautéed mushrooms, petite peas and pasta smothered in a rich and creamy sauce, topped with cheese and golden crispy panko. This recipe is extremely flexible and easy to customize – use different pasta, different protein (try shredded chicken, pork or ham) and different veggies. It’s hearty enough to satisfy a crowd and is make-ahead and freezer friendly, just assemble then pop it in the oven when ready. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the barrage of compliments over this creamy, cheesy, comforting Turkey Tetrazzini.
Servings 12 servings
- 16 ounces spaghetti, snapped in half
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb. baby Bella mushrooms, chopped (optional)
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ cup heavy cream (may sub milk)
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried parsley, dried basil
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, smoked paprika, pepper
- 3/4 cups freshly grated cheddar
- 1 3/4 cups freshly grated Monterey Jack, divided
- ½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 cups turkey, chopped (may sub cooked chicken)
- 1 cup frozen petite peas, not thawed
Pasta: Cook pasta just until al dente according to package directions – don’t overcook! Strain, rinse with cold water and toss in a drizzle of olive oil to prevent it from clumping. Prep: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside. Onions and Mushrooms: In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and cook until mostly softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are softened, about 3 minutes. Sauce: Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms and cook an additional 2 minutes (it will be thick, if not using mushrooms, you'll need an extra drizzle of olive oil). Slowly stir in the milk, heavy cream and 1 cup chicken broth. Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1 cup broth until smooth then add it to the pot. Add Worcestershire, chicken bouillon and all of the seasonings. Bring to a simmer until thickened (but not overly thick), 5-10 minutes.
Add cheese: Reduce heat to low and whisk in cheddar until melted, followed by 3/4 cup Monterrey until melted, followed by Parmesan until melted.
Add turkey: Stir in turkey and peas, followed by cooked spaghetti. Toss until evenly coated (it will seem like a lot of extra sauce which is a good thing). Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired (I like about 1/2 teaspoon more pepper).
Assemble: Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish. Top with 1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese. At this point you can cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake or proceed with the recipe (see make ahead instructions in notes).
Panko topping: In a medium skillet, melt butter in olive oil over medium heat. Add panko and stir to coat. Continue cooking until crumbs become golden brown then immediately remove from heat and sprinkle over the casserole.
Bake: Cover casserole with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish individual servings with chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
HOW to store and reheat
- Storage: tightly cover any leftovers with foil and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days. If your turkey is already a couple days old to start with, then it will be good closer to 2 to 3 days.
- Microwave: reheat individual servings for 90 seconds then at 20 second intervals until warmed through. I sometimes add a splash of milk to the casserole before reheating and then mix it in so it emerges just as creamy as the first day.
- Oven: cover the casserole with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Turkey Tetrazzini is the perfect casserole to assemble ahead of time with just a few considerations. Here’s how:
- Take care to cook the pasta al dente and that the sauce isn't too thick. I suggest adding 1/4-1/2 cup extra heavy cream so its extra saucy.
- Assemble the casserole according to recipe instructions but don’t add the panko topping. Cover with foil and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- Transfer panko topping to a separate sealable bag/airtight container and store on the counter otherwise it will soften in the fridge.
- When ready to bake, sprinkle the casserole with the panko and let it sit on the counter while the oven preheats.
- Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted.
HOW TO FREEZE
- Take care to cook the pasta al dente and that the sauce isn't too thick. I suggest adding 1/4-1/2 cup extra heavy cream so it’s extra saucy.
- Make and assemble according to directions up to the point of baking. You can add the panko if you want the casserole 100% assembled OR for crispier panko, toast and add it right before baking.
- Let the casserole cool completely (not from baking but from the warm sauce). Double wrap the casserole securely with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil.
- Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw casserole in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours until completely thawed.
- Let casserole stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.