This casserole is my version of the classic Turkey Tetrazzini. I just made this last night and it turned out to be delicious. My husband and son can vouch for me because they cleaned their plates! After cooking a 22 pound turkey, I had a lot of leftovers. Most of these ingredients I had on hand, so I dashed to a corner market to pick up what fresh ingredients I needed.
I know that looking at all of these words looks like a time-consuming read – but this was truly quick to make. After looking through other casserole recipes, each one included cooking the casserole for another 30 minutes after assembling all of the ingredients. This only takes 3 minutes under the broiler after it’s assembled.
One of the hardest aspects of cooking is getting the timing on everything – in other words, getting it all to come together without getting stressed out. The few extra minutes you spend reading this will translate to more time that you will save. I believe that people get frustrated or intimidated by cooking because they waste a lot of time in the process.
This will serve 4-6 people. You’ll need a heavy, deep, fry pan to make the sauce, a pasta cooking pot, and a 13x9x2 baking dish for the casserole. The ingredients you need are:
One fresh medium to small onion
One package – 8 oz. of fresh mushrooms (sliced or unsliced)
One package frozen peas – I bought the Green Giant Steamers sweet peas – it’s easy because you just throw the entire bag into the microwave
1/2 cup heavy cream (the 8 oz. carton will say whipping cream – which can be confusing but is correct)
1/4 cup dry sherry (I have a bottle of Taylor sherry. On the bottle it says “excellent for cooking.” Use real sherry not cooking sherry. I find it’s better to cook with wine and spirits that are the real thing. Sherry is great in Chinese recipes too, so you can use it again and again.)
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2-1 Cup grated cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Jar Ragu Light Parmesan Alfredo sauce
1 Can Swanson Chicken Broth – 33% less sodium
1 Package Linguine Pasta (I used 3/4 of the package)
2-3 Cups of cooked turkey cut into bite-sized pieces or cubes
Package of your favorite flavored bread crumbs (Panko, Italian, whatever you like)
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
Get your water boiling for the pasta. Chop your onion fine and slice up the mushrooms. Get a big, deep, fry pan and set it on medium to medium high and throw in the butter until it melts. Then throw in your onions and mushrooms. Saute the onions until they are clear in appearance and the mushrooms have taken on a round, plumpish look.
If the water is at a rolling boil, put in 3/4 of the box of pasta. Set a timer for 10 minutes (read the label on cooking time. If it says to cook 11 minutes, I always set the timer one minute early to check on it. I can’t stand over cooked pasta. If it’s too firm, set the timer for another minute and taste one of the strands again.)
When you are six minutes into the pasta cooking process, put the peas into the microwave and cook for four minutes. The bag will say 5-6, but the peas will keep cooking in the bag. If you cook them too long they will get mushy and mushy peas are the worst! They will still need to be warmed up in the casserole, so don’t over cook them.
While the pasta is cooking, pour the Alfredo sauce into the onion and mushrooms. Save the jar. Reduce heat to medium. Stir. Take the chicken stock and pour about half of the can into the Alfredo sauce jar. (This will get all of the sauce out of the jar and serve as kind of an eyeball measuring cup too.) Shake it up and pour it into the pan. Stir. Take the small carton of heavy cream and pour it into the jar until it looks like half a cup – or half the carton. Take half of the remaining chicken stock and pour it into the jar. Shake it up and slowly add it to the sauce. Then take the 1/4 cup of sherry and pour it into the sauce and stir. Add about 1/2-1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and stir. (I know the nutmeg sounds crazy, but it’s great.) Stir in the 1/2-1 cup of cheddar cheese until melted.
If the sauce is thin, take your jar and pour in the remaining chicken stock. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of flour to the jar. Put on the lid and shake until there are no lumps. Pour the flour mixture slowly into the pan and stir until the sauce is the desired thickness. If it’s too still thin, you can add water to the jar with more flour and repeat the process. Use salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Also, if you like garlic add more if you wish.
When the pasta is done, (al-dente – Italian for a little chewy) pour it into a strainer in the sink.
Add the turkey to the sauce and stir to warm through for a few minutes on medium heat. Open the bag of peas and scoop out about three to four spoonfuls using a slotted spoon (depending on how much you like peas). Don’t pour the bag of peas into the sauce because there will be a lot of liquid left over which will ruin the taste of the sauce and water it down. (I did this once on another recipe!)
Stir all that together and then get your baking pan. Spray it with a cooking spray. Take the pasta and dump it in. Spread out the pasta evenly. Now take your sauce and pour it all over the pasta until the pasta is covered. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle the seasoned bread crumbs on top. The amount you use is up to you. I just lightly covered the dish with both ingredients.
Turn on your broiler and put the dish under the broiler for about two minutes. I first set my timer for five minutes and my gut told me to check on it after two. I almost burned it! Check and see that it’s getting brown. I left it in for one more minute and that was it. The ingredients are already cooked. It’s just a matter of making it look pretty and brown.
It’s always great to share food that is lovingly prepared. Plus, cooking helps you feel a sense of accomplishment and even gives you courage! The more you cook, the more courage and confidence you will have. Plus, you’ll have a sense of joy. No wonder someone wrote a book on that. Enjoy!