Recipe Review

Make This Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole Again and Again

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For almost my whole life, I assumed chicken Tetrazzini was Italian, but that rich, creamy casserole of noodles and diced poultry is pure American comfort food. Mixing pasta and chicken with mushrooms and peas and baking it in a buttery cream sauce makes a hearty weeknight meal and a perfect freezer dinner, especially when topped with a thick layer of Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Tetrazzini leftovers are always a reliable lunch or late-night snack, too.

There’s no such thing as a standard recipe for chicken Tetrazzini. Sometimes it seems like there are practically as many different recipe variations as there are people making it. This version makes use of a classic home-cooking shortcut and uses a premade base (chicken gravy) for the casserole sauce.

To make it her way, sauté sliced mushrooms in olive oil with several cloves worth of minced garlic. Add a cup of frozen peas and let everything cook until the mushrooms are tender and the peas are warmed through, then add a bit of flour to the pan and let it cook in the leftover olive oil for just a minute, because the cooked flour will help thicken the sauce. Then finish the sauce by just pouring a whole container of the chicken gravy right into the pot with a couple cups of half and half. Let the sauce simmer until it thickens a bit, then toss the sauce with cooked pasta and diced, cooked chicken. (You can cook chicken breasts separately, or shred the meat off a grocery-store rotisserie chicken.)

Spread the whole concoction into a baking pan, cover it with a generous topping of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, and drizzle melted butter over the top. Don’t skip any of those steps, because the buttery, golden crust of Parmesan breadcrumbs has a crunchy texture that contrasts beautifully with the softness of the casserole and makes this Tetrazzini a dish to make again and again.

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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

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