Wholesome Wednesday: Chicken Tetrazzini – The light version :)

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My great aunt Alice used to make chicken tetrazzini for us fairly often.  I never realized it was an adapted recipe from the Joy of Cooking from the May 2, 2001 Chicago Tribune until we asked about the recipe.  As we love everything in it (I mean what’s not to love?  It has a creamy sauce, mushrooms, chicken and pasta baked till creamy.) this recipe is a staple in our household.  I’m actually surprised I haven’t shared it with y’all before now.

It does make a large amount, about 8 servings, takes some time to prep and makes a ton of dishes.  But this recipe has a great taste and turns out practically perfect every single time.  Another thing I should mention, I’m pretty free and easy with the ingredients.  You really can’t do a lot to mess up this recipe.  I’ve used margarine instead of butter, skim milk instead of half and half, extra spaghetti or extra veggies.  Whatever I happen to have in the fridge.  One thing I cannot stress enough is to taste the bechamel sauce before you mix in the mushrooms and pasta.  We like a lot more nutmeg than the recipe calls for.  Sometimes I almost grate an entire nutmeg into the sauce.  Definitely taste it before throwing it all together for the oven.

Tonight I added the rest of the spinach lingering in the fridge.  If you hadn’t seen it you never would have known it was there.  Could not taste it at all.

Here the tetrazzini is ready for the oven with its freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Chicken Tetrazzini

5 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use margarine if that’s what I have on hand)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup flour
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half and half
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded into pieces
3 tablespoons white wine (optional)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces spaghetti, cooked (I’ve been known to use 12 oz of veggie to use the whole box)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I grate it fresh on top, rarely use an entire 1/2 cup)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat in medium skillet.  Add mushrooms; cook stirring often until tender, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.  If you were going to add spinach or kale, do it after the mushrooms release their liquid.  Add spinach to the pan and cook until wilted.  By then the mushrooms should be cooked through.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat in large saucepan.  Whisk in flour.  Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.  Whisk in chicken broth.  Whisk in milk.  Heat mixture to simmer, whisking constantly until thick and smooth.  Cook 1 minute.  Stir in chicken and wine.  Cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in mushrooms and spaghetti.

This is what you’d call an action shot.  :)  I asked Susie to bring the camera as I wanted to take a photo before I baked and she started snapping them while I was grating.  As you can see my counter is cluttered with stuff.  That pile of newspaper in the back is a gorgeous french crystal trifle set I just got and can not wait to use.  :)

Pour mixture into a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan.  Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake until sauce is bubbly and cheese is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

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