Turkey Tetrazzini

by Hilary Gauntt on November 21, 2011

This dish was named in honor of Luisa Tettrazini, an Italian soprano popular in America during the early 1900’s. It was probably invented for her by a hotel chef.  She was famously plump and once said : “I must not diet; if I diet my face sags.”

Growing up our family frequently had turkey on Christmas Eve, and my Mother would be back in the kitchen the next afternoon making this for dinner. Lucky us.  It’s not a diet dish, but then, who wants their face to sag on New Year’s Eve?  My Dad passed away last January, and after 64 years of marriage, my Mom is hanging up her apron. She has earned the right to have ice cream for dinner.

8 oz. spaghetti

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup light cream

1/4 cup sherry (medium dry)

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

3 cups cooked turkey or chicken, cubed

1 cup cubed ham (optional)

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 slivers green pepper, minced

1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup slivered almonds or breadcrumbs (Progresso crispy Italian Panko)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter and blend in flour, salt, and nutmeg; stirring constantly until smooth and bubbling.  Remove from heat; stir in broth and cream.  Bring to a boil, stirring for one minute.  Stir in sherry and cheese.  Add the turkey, peppers,celery and mushrooms to sauce and remove from heat after the vegetables have cooked a bit.

Break the spaghetti into 2 inch pieces; drop into rapidly boil water and cook until al dente. Drain and add to sauce. Pour all into a buttered serving dish and sprinkle with almonds, bread crumbs or more parmaesan cheese.   Bake in oven until top is browned, till it’s hot through, or until you feel like taking it out. ( About half an hour.)  Supposedly serves 6.

Note: The sherry adds a wonderful mild, nutty flavor to the sauce. Cooking sherry is just fine.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey November 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

OK–that’s too funny–you really do learn something new everyday. I’ve always thought this dish was called Turkey “Tedrowzini” and named after Hilary’s mom, an incredible chef, Virginia Tedrow.


Donna December 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Since I’m reading this while watching the Denver-NE football game, I first thought you were going to name it after Tim Tebow.


Diane Armstrong December 3, 2011 at 11:52 am

This is delicious…we had it the night of the photos -yum!! Great fun, great food and absolutely great friends!


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