I know what you are thinking: "Yuck."
I know, I know. I remember Turkey Tetrazzini from college cafeteria days, too. It was never a popular choice which is why I was surprised to see a recipe for it in the November 2006 issue of Saveur. The recipe description says straight up, "this isn't the Turkey Tetrazzini as you know it." In fact, it's almost nothing like the original recipe with the exception of the turkey and the noodles.
What intrigued me about this recipe was that it called for one cup of ketchup, an obvious bastardization of Escoffier's original recipe. And, I admit, I am a sucker for a good bastardization of a recipe, especially one that has been handed down through the generations like this one has. I'm also a sucker for a trashy, retro casserole. Ain't nothing fancy about a recipe that calls for one cup of ketchup.
But, what I liked most about this recipe was that it made the turkey into something completely different and un-turkey-like. There were no "Thanksgiving flavors" in this recipe, and after three days of eating turkey, that's a good thing.
This recipe would be great made with leftover turkey that has been frozen and defrosted, perhaps as a part of a casual family meal around the holidays. If you're sick of turkey, freeze three cups of it and make this casserole at a later date.
The recipe says it serves eight, but my family of four hearty eaters only made it through about 1/4 of a 9' x 12' pan. I think it can easily serve 10-12, especially if you serve other things alongside. We had a green salad and leftover Thanksgiving green beans with this.
Try it. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised...if you keep your expectations low.
Notes: I omitted the bell pepper, canned mushrooms, and pimentos and it still was delicious.
2 tbsp. butter
7 cups chicken broth
1 green bell pepper
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper (I didn't add any additional salt as the broth, ketchup, and turkey were salty enough)
1 lb. dried spaghetti
1 lb. skinless, boneless roasted turkey, torn into large chunks (about 3 cups)
2 cups frozen peas, thawed (I added them frozen)
1 cup ketchup
1 7-oz. can mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped drained pimentos
3 cups (about 1/2 pound) grated cheddar cheese (I used a mixture of grated mozzarella and grated sharp cheddar.)
Preheat oven to 350º.
Butter and 11" x 13" casserole dish with 1 tbsp. of the butter.
Combine broth, peppers, onions, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add spaghetti broken in pieces, reduce heat to medium, and boil gently, stirring often until spaghetti is al dente, about 12-14 minutes. (Or two minutes less than directions on box indicate.) Remove from heat, add remaining butter, turkey, peas, ketchup, mushrooms, pimentos, and salt and pepper to taste and fold together. Transfer spaghetti mixture to buttered dish and cover with grated cheese. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Set casserole aside to let cool slightly, then serve.
[Mosaic created with fd's flickr toys using Stefania Pomponi Butler's photos]