Friday, March 14, 2014

Chicken Tetrazzini

5 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 jar (8 oz.) mushrooms, drained
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup evaporated milk
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups diced or slivered cooked chicken
1 pkg. (8 oz.) thin spaghetti
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in med. size saucepan.  Stir in flour.  Add chicken stock and stir till thick.  Add cream.  Add salt & pepper if needed.  Divide sauce in half.  Add chicken and mushrooms to one half of sauce.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions but don't overcook.  Drain spaghetti and stir in other half of cream sauce.  Pour spaghetti mixture into oiled 2 qt. casserole.  Pour chicken mixture over spaghetti.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Cover and bake 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.

Martha:  I love just about any pasta dish but have to admit that in all of my years I have NEVER eaten Chicken Tetrazzini!  Don’t know why, just never tried it.  That is in the past.  This dish is so simple and so delicious that I will be making it often.  I did leave out the English peas from the original recipe but that can be added if you like.  I think it was 1 small can drained.

Food Tester Carol:  This dish is named for an opera singer named Luisa Tetrazzini in the 1900s.  The dish became very popular with Italian-Americans and later, with the American public.  My family was transferred from town to town every few years and one place we lived, my best friend was named Elena Bella.  Her Nonna (grandmother) would make Chicken Tet (as they called it) every weekend and one way or other, I finagled an invitation to dinner for this dish.  When Elena and I would come into the kitchen to check on Nonna’s progress with the cooking, she would kiss the top of our little kid heads and say something in Italian that I always thought was a blessing of some kind.  Martha’s recipe takes me right back to Nonna’s kitchen and tasting it makes me feel a little kiss on the top of my head with its companion blessing.  The flavors of the chicken, mushroom, cheese, cream and spaghetti are silken and oh, so easy to eat, just like Nonna’s.

Tip:  The secret to fresh-tasting pasta salads is to avoid overcooking.  Pasta cooked to just the right stage is called al dente, which means “to the tooth” in Italian.  At this point, the pasta has a firm texture and is slightly chewy.