February 15, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

As I often do when it's cold and dreary, I was craving creamy pasta comfort food. I'd always thought of Tetrazzini as typical Betty Crocker casserole fare, but mine would be a step up, I decided. The dish was allegedly named for Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, so shouldn't it be a tad classy? Oodles of noodles and chicken with a mushroom here and there would not do.

Each bite ended up packed with distinct flavor of prosciutto and artichokes and onion plus, of course, lots of my beloved mushrooms and some bites of chicken.

It was all wrapped up in wine cream sauce, not very heavy but cheesy enough to be creamy and comforting as it should be. Canned cream of mushroom soup, which is in many a common tetrazzini recipes, isn't pure evil, but this lighter scratch-made sauce is definitely pure good. I topped it off with a crisp layer of Parmesan and green onions.

This dish is good for a larger group or for two meals in one week. You can also double it and freeze one or give it to a friend.

Chicken Tetrazzini
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2003

1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ onion, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 oz. prosciutto, chopped (optional splurge)
¼ cup sherry or marsala wine
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded, divided
¼ cup cream cheese (I used reduced fat.)
8 oz. capellini, vermicelli or spaghetti noodles (I used whole wheat.), cooked al dente
1 ½ -2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
4 green onions, chopped

(I cooked the pasta and cooked chicken breasts in a skillet while I made the sauce, but you could make it at any time.)

Add olive oil, onion, mushrooms, and prosciutto to a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Sauté 4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add wine; cook 1 minute.

Gradually add flour to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly (mixture will be thick) with a whisk. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese and the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until cream cheese melts. Add the pasta, chicken, and artichokes and stir until blended. Pour pasta into a baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Mix remaining ¼ cup Parmesan (or be more liberal if you like cheese as much as I do) with green onions and sprinkle over top of pasta.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove casserole from oven; let stand 15 minutes.

Yield: 6 large servings.

You can easily double this recipe and freeze it.

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