|She was Italian; this dish is not.|
True to the original intent of this blog project, I went took a book from our shelf and searched it for a new recipe. We have made such great use of Jane Brody's Good Food Book, perhaps the first cook book we purchased together. We are actually on our second copy, having worn out the first. Readers of this blog will know we make frequent use of it, but at 700 pages, we may never complete more than a tithe of its treasures.
For some reason, I was in the mood for pasta, but had no other criteria for my search than the use some of the spaghetti we already had in our cupboard. The index led me to Turkey Tetrazzini on page 363. The name was vaguely familiar, and since Brody highlights four main ingredients -- sphaghetti, turkey, cheese, and milk -- I assumed that the name had something to do with the number four, as in Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4).
Although the word "leftover" is used twice in Brody's short introduction, I actually went shopping for this dish, getting some thick slices of turkey from the deli counter. I did use a frozen green pepper we already had on hand.
I started by sauteing a half pound of mushrooms in butter, then added a bit of flour and pepper (skipping the called-for salt) I stirred in two cups of milk and then added Worcestershire sauce (giving the dish an odd greyness). After this was thickened, I added a half cup of shredded Cheddar and a diced pepper (frozen from our farmbox harvest last year), and scallions. Into a casserole dish prepared with a bit of olive oil, I stirred in a half pound of diced turkey and half pound of spaghetti, which I had cooked while preparing the rest. I topped this with a mixture of Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. This I convected at 350 until evenly browned on top.
Thankfully, this dish has nothing to do with the toxic compound, and in fact is quite yummy. The name is an homage to the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini, and I think its main advantage is that it lends an exotic air to what is a very mainstream suburban dish. So mainstream, in fact, that I instantly declared it fit for any kind of suburban club or senior-center gathering.
What I realized after the fact is that I might be the first person ever to go shopping for ingredients to make this dish. According to the same NPR story on musical leftovers from which I learned of the opera connection, I learned that turkey tetrazzini is commonly associated with Thanksgiving leftovers, and this makes a great deal of sense. The online version of the story includes a recipe that sounds a little more interesting, with a bit of dry sherry (I should have thought of that) and a couple of spices.
A quick image search for turkey tetrazzini validates my decision not to post a photo. This is definitely a dish that is more appetizing in person than it is in a photograph!