Fancy Chicken Tetrazzini

This was unlike any tetrazzini I’ve ever eaten. It was fancy! (for a rotisserie chicken casserole, anyway 😉 ) It’s probably not technically “tetrazzini,” but it was a smoky, full-flavored, and delicious comfort food dish. An upgrade.

The New York Times explained that this dish takes its name from the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini. It was once commonly found on menus in upscale restaurants during the early 20th century. (Who knew?) It has since become less fancy (until now!) and less Italian. 🙂 I loved the title of their article, “Chicken Tetrazzini, The Casserole Even Snobs Love.” I love all sorts of casseroles, so I suppose this fact confirms that I’m not a snob. 🙂

This recipe is from The New York Times, adapted from Mississippi chef Brad McDonald, contributed by Sam Sifton. I adapted the recipe further by increasing the garlic and by using mixed dried wild mushrooms as well as whole wheat pasta.

I’m bringing my fancy and snobby casserole to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #144, co-hosted by Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen and Margy @La Petite Casserole. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (I used a mixed wild dried mushroom medley including porcini, shiitake, black, & oyster mushrooms)
  • 4 medium-size poblano peppers
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles, ends snipped and seeds discarded
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium-size shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (I used 3-year aged white Cheddar)
  • 1 pound spaghetti, preferably whole wheat
  • 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, the meat removed and shredded, approximately 1 pound
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish, optional
  1. Turn broiler to high, and set a large pot filled with salted water over high heat to come to a boil.
  2. As oven heats, place the mushrooms in a small bowl, and pour boiling water over them, then leave them to soak for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, then strain and set aside.
  3. Place the poblanos on a small sheet pan, and set on the highest rack under the broiler so that the skin blackens, turning a few times so that the roasting is even, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. When the skin is blackened and blistered all over, place the peppers in a medium bowl, cover it with a plate and allow to rest.
  4. Make the sauce. Put the dried chiles in a medium pot set over medium-high heat, and allow them to cook until they become fragrant, approximately 5 to 7 minutes, then turn heat to low, and add the chicken stock, milk, garlic and shallots.
  5. Allow the mixture to cook at just below a simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until the chiles have softened.
  6. Remove from heat, and pour into a blender or Vitamix, then add 6 ounces of the grated Cheddar, and process to a smooth consistency. Set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, remove the skin and seeds from the roasted poblanos, and cut them into thin strips. Set aside.
  8. Heat oven to 400, preferably on convection.
  9. Cook the spaghetti in the boiling salted water in the large pot until just al dente, approximately 9 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water until cool, then drain again. (This step prevents the pasta from over cooking in the oven.)
  10. Return the spaghetti to the cooking pot, and toss it with the roasted pepper strips, the mushrooms, the shredded chicken meat and the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.
  11. Transfer to a casserole dish, approximately 9 inches by 13 inches, and pour the reserved cheese sauce over it.
  12. Cover with the remaining shredded cheese, place in oven and bake until the cheese has melted and started to turn golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
  13. Garnish with chopped parsley, if you like, and serve.

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Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

The sad news is that my search is over for the perfect macaroni and cheese. 😉 This version was incredible. It’s easy to prepare, the pasta is even incorporated uncooked, and I was able to assemble it in advance and refrigerate it for a couple of hours prior to baking as well.  I also loved that it had dry mustard and cottage cheese in its creamy filling. The golden-brown crispy crust on the top was just the icing on the cake.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Julia Moskin. I used DeCecco cavatappi instead of elbows (so much more fun) and decreased the amount of butter (slightly). We enjoyed it as part of my husband’s extravagant birthday feast! Absolutely delicious.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings   Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (not low-fat)
  • 2 cups milk (not skim)(I used whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used my favorite Cabot Classic Vermont 3-year Cheddar)
  • ½ pound cavatappi or elbow pasta, uncooked
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection, and position an oven rack in upper third of oven.
  2. Use scant 1/2 tablespoon of butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan. (I used a deep 8-inch round ceramic soufflé dish.)
  3. In a blender or Vitamix, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together.
  4. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta.
  5. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes. (I put the assembled, covered dish in the refrigerator for several hours prior to baking.)
  6. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter.
  7. Bake, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

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Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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When I saw this recipe from Nancy of Feasting with Friends, I forwarded a link to my husband at work to see if he would like to have it as part of our Thanksgiving feast. The response: “Are you joking? Of course!”

This casserole was insanely HUGE! My son ate potato casserole with a side of potato casserole for his Thanksgiving feast. 🙂 My husband ate his fair share as well- they were both absolutely thrilled- especially with the cheesy bacon topping. 🙂 This tasty recipe was adapted from Feasting with Friends. I used fat-free Greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream. (No one noticed….)

Yield: Serves 15+

  • 18 medium russet potatoes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (I used fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of whole milk (may use less depending on consistency of potatoes)
  • 8 slices of bacon, fried until crispy and crumbled
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • chopped chives
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (convection). Scrub potatoes and pierce each several times with a fork or sharp knife.
  2. Bake the potatoes (directly on the oven rack) for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Fully cooked potatoes will give slightly when squeezed (use an oven mitt – they’ll be hot).
  3. If baking completed dish immediately after prep, reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  4. Cool potatoes slightly, until able to handle. Spritz a baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  5. Cut each potato in half. Scoop out the insides and place in a large mixing bowl. Set the skins aside.
  6. In two batches, using a stand mixer, stir on low until potatoes are broken down a bit, incorporating about 1/2 cup of milk in each batch. Add half of the cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Repeat with the second batch.
  7. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Add additional milk (a tablespoon or so at a time) if potato mixture is too thick.
  8. Roughly chop about 1/2 of the potato skins and place in the prepared baking dish. Using a large spoon, place the potato mixture on top of the skins. Smooth and level the potatoes. Cover with foil.
  9. At this point, the potatoes can be baked immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours. If refrigerating, allow dish to stand at room temperature about 1 to 2 hours prior to baking and start in a cold oven, set to 325°F. Add about 10 minutes to the bake time below.
  10. Bake about 35 to 45 minutes, remove foil and bake about 10 more minutes until the potatoes are completely heated through. Immediately after removing from the oven, top the potatoes with the shredded cheese and crumpled bacon. Return to oven briefly to melt the cheese.
  11. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Fewer guests? For every 3 potatoes, use approximately: 1 ounce cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons sour cream, 1 Tablespoon butter, 1/2 clove minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons milk, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and 1 slice crumbled, cooked bacon.

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Stove-Top Pasta and Cheese

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I had so many excuses to make this rich & cheesy weeknight dinner… it was 16 degrees colder than average, raining, I was tired…. I also needed something great for Fiesta Friday #14 at the Novice Gardener! It was a tasty, quick cooking, one-pot meal. A crowd pleaser. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. …and, yes, amazing Garlic Bread was served on the side. We did eat it with huge green salads as well for veggies and color. 🙂

  • 2 to 3 slices rustic bread, such as ciabatta, trimmed of crusts and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used 2 slices of Tuscan Pane)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 ounce white extra-sharp cheddar, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  1. Toast the cut and trimmed bread in a 400 degree oven util lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pulse bread in a food processor (I used a mini) until coarsely ground (you should have 1 cup). Add melted butter, pulsing to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse to mix.
  3. Cook pasta in a large pot of generously salted water until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, both cheeses, cream, and mustard in a bowl.
  5. Return pasta to pot and add egg mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring, until sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Add reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until pasta is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topped with breadcrumbs.

 One Year Ago:

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