Easy turkey tetrazzini recipe is a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. It has a rich and creamy sauce and topped with a buttery breadcrumb topping.
My refrigerator is CRAMMED with Thanksgiving leftovers! Which I guess is a good thing until I have to spend 10 minutes rearranging just to find a place to put a gallon of milk.
I love leftovers, but what I love even more is transforming those leftovers into something completely different. For the last two weeks, Kroger had turkeys on sale for $.37 a pound with a ten dollar purchase. I’m not gonna lie – it was an awesome deal and I bought three. Two smaller 13-pound birds are hanging out in the deep freeze for a later date. One HUGE 20-pound bird ended up being the guest of honor on our Thanksgiving table. It was a monster beast; more than what The Husband, my parents, and myself could ever eat. But I bought that big ole bird for the express purpose of having leftovers.
I know what you’re thinking. The name turkey tetrazzini evokes thoughts of a lady wearing a hairnet standing behind a cafeteria serving line in me too. This recipe is NOT the same gob of mushy noodles and cream of mushroom soup you were served as a kid. The sauce is rich and creamy and the bread crumb topping is buttery and crispy.
What is a Tetrazzini Anyway?
Tetrazzini describes any American dish made with diced poultry or seafood mixed with a mushroom cream sauce and parmesan cheese. It is typically served over noodles, such as linguine or spaghetti.
How to Make Turkey Tetrazzini
Step one. Start by cooking a package of spaghetti according to package directions. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Step two. While the pasta is cooking, melt six tablespoons in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender. Add mushrooms and red pepper. Sauté 4-5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
Step three. Stir in flour and salt and stir until blended. Gradually whisk in the milk and bouillon. You can try to cut calories by using skim milk, but I really enjoy the creamy richness that the whole milk imparts.
Bring the mixture to a simmer stir for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Step four. Stir in the diced leftover turkey meat, Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper. Heat the sauce through and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Step five. Next, add the drained spaghetti and stir to coat with with the sauce. Transfer everything to a 9-in. x 13-in. x 2-in. greased baking dish or two 8-in. x 8-in. greased baking dishes.
Step six. Finally, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Once melted, toss the butter with 1 1/2 cups for Panko breacrumbs.
Panko breadcrumbs are a type of Japanese breadcrumbs that are crunchier than regular breadcrumbs. They really retain their crunchy texture, even when baked, which is why I love to use it as a topping for this recipe.
Spread the Panko breadcrumbs over the top of the casserole.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the casserole for 30-35 mintues until the casserole is heated through and the Panko breadcrumb topping is golden brown.
How to Store Turkey Tetrazzini
Leftover cooked turkey tetrazzini can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Uncooked turkey tetrazzini can be stored in the freezer for up to one year. Follow the recipe up to step five. Then cover with foil and freeze. Allow the casserole to thaw before cooking. Right before putting it into the oven, make the Panko breadcrumb topping.
This turkey tetrazzini recipe is good ol’ comfort food and no lunch ladies were harmed in the process.
Easy Turkey Tetrazzini
- 1 package 12 ounces spaghetti
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 9 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 large sweet red pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
- 6 cups cubed cooked turkey breast
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, melt six tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender. Add mushrooms and red pepper. Sauté 4-5 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
- Stir in flour and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in milk and bouillon. Bring to a simmer stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
- Stir in turkey, cheese and cayenne pepper; heat through. Season with salt to taste. Remove from the heat.
- Drain spaghetti. Add to turkey mixture and mix well. Transfer to one 9-in. x 13-in. x 2-in. greased baking dish or two 8-in. x 8-in. greased baking dishes.
- Melt remaining butter. Toss with bread crumbs and sprinkle over casseroles.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and breadcrumbs are golden brown.