From a very old Betty Crocker cookbook, adapted by Tera’s Mom
Ahhhh, the rare family recipe from Tera’s side. Not because we didn’t eat home-cooked food when I was growing up, and not because it wasn’t good, but because I’m 100% convinced my mother is sabotaging my efforts by giving me inaccurate recipes. She claims it’s not so, but thus far we’ve flopped on the family meatball recipe, the family spaghetti recipe, the family artichoke recipe…the list goes on. So when I asked for my mom’s recipe for turkey tetrazzini, a perennial post-Thanksgiving classic, I didn’t have high hopes. But John and I made a 12-pound turkey for two the other night, and the giant tub of leftover meat wasn’t going to eat itself.
The first email I received in response to my request was a pretty straightforward, albeit typo ridden, recipe, which I assumed was taken verbatim from my mom’s beloved, falling apart, 1969 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. After reviewing it I had a few basic questions, things like what size can is Betty referring to for the mushrooms, and what was the weight of “1 box” of spaghetti in 1969. The email I received back was classic mom.
“Well, the truth is I doubled the amount of butter, flour, broth and cream….I added extra spaghetti from another box….I have never measured the turkey….double that too….”
You get the idea. Wary from my many past failures I placed a phone call to mother dearest, teased out as much exact information as I could, said a prayer to the food gods and dove in. And, in what can only be described as a Christmas miracle, it was delicious! It tasted just like mom’s, and we truly felt like we were channeling the 1960’s version of ourselves throughout the meal. So if you’re still sitting on that last chunk of turkey, it might be time you make this one part of your family tradition, too. Just remember to write down the real recipe for your kids one day!
- 12 ounces dry spaghetti
- 5 Tbsp butter, divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup chicken broth (we used leftover turkey stock we had lying around)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
- 1 (6.5oz) can mushrooms (about 3/4 cup, if you want to use fresh)
- 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp white wine
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (we used the stuff in the green can)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (we used Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, but I’m sure anything would be fine)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over low heat.
- Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and bubbly.
- Remove from heat for a moment and whisk in broth and cream.
- Return to heat and turn up to medium-high. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil, whisking, for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in cooked spaghetti, turkey, mushrooms, celery and white wine. Toss to combine.
- Pour mixture into an un-greased casserole. We used a relatively deep 9×9 Corningware dish. A shallower 9×13 would probably work too. It doesn’t really matter, as long as it all fits.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan.
- Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and toss with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown.