Scrumptious Weeknight Chicken Tetrazzini: Comfort Food at Its Finest

Discover our Chicken Tetrazzini recipe, a comforting pasta dish packed with juicy chicken, creamy sauce, and topped with a cheesy crust. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

July 14, 2023
Chicken TetrazziniPhoto By Canva
Difficulty Easy
Servings 6 people
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 30 mins
Total 50 mins

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente, then drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute, creating a roux.
  4. Gradually add the chicken broth to the roux, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
  5. Lower the heat and stir in the heavy cream, followed by the Parmesan cheese. Continue stirring until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the cooked chicken and spaghetti to the sauce, stirring to ensure everything is well-coated.
  7. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly golden.
  9. Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired, before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Chicken Tetrazzini
Serves 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories480
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27 g34.6%
Sodium 600 mg26.1%
Protein 29 g58%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Tips

  • Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Season them with salt and pepper, then cook them until they are fully cooked and no longer pink inside. You can grill, bake, or sauté the chicken based on your preference.
  • Choose the right pasta. Traditional Tetrazzini uses long pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine. For more, check out our ‘Types of Pastas’ article.
  • Feel free to use leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken for this recipe. It's a great way to make use of leftovers!
  • Make sure to cook your pasta al dente as it will continue to cook in the oven. Al dente pasta holds its shape better and prevents the dish from becoming too mushy.
  • Make a creamy sauce. Prepare a creamy sauce by combining ingredients like butter, flour, chicken broth, and milk or cream. Cook the sauce until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This sauce will add creaminess and flavor to the dish.
  • Want to add a bit more flavor? Try sautéing some onions and garlic before adding the flour to create the roux.
  • You can add extra veggies like peas, bell peppers, or mushrooms for a nutritious twist.
  • For a crispy topping, consider adding some bread crumbs over the cheese before baking.
  • Let it rest before serving. Allow the Chicken Tetrazzini to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. This will help the dish set and make it easier to serve.
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Welcome to a culinary experience that will leave your family asking for seconds! Our Scrumptious Weeknight Chicken Tetrazzini combines creamy pasta, juicy chicken, and a delightfully crispy, cheesy top. This classic comfort food, named after the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini, is surprisingly easy to whip up, making it the perfect dish for a cozy weeknight dinner. Let's start cooking!

What Is Tetrazzini Made Of?

Tetrazzini is an American pasta dish made with diced poultry or seafood (usually chicken or turkey, but sometimes also shrimp or tuna), mushrooms, and a buttery cream sauce. It's typically prepared with spaghetti or another thin pasta and then baked with a grated cheese topping, often Parmesan.

What Is The Difference Between Alfredo And Tetrazzini?

Alfredo and Tetrazzini are both creamy pasta dishes, but they have several differences in their ingredients and preparation.

Alfredo:

  • Alfredo sauce is a classic Italian creation, named after Alfredo di Lelio, who invented it in Rome in the early 20th century.
  • Traditional Alfredo sauce is incredibly simple and consists of just butter and Parmesan cheese melted together, though many American versions also include heavy cream to make it even creamier.
  • Alfredo sauce is usually served with fettuccine, a type of pasta that is flat and wide.
  • The dish doesn't usually include meat or vegetables, though modern versions often include additions like chicken, shrimp, or broccoli.

Tetrazzini:

  • Tetrazzini, on the other hand, is an American dish named after Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini.
  • Tetrazzini usually includes diced poultry (like chicken or turkey) or sometimes seafood, along with mushrooms.
  • The sauce for Tetrazzini is a cream sauce usually made with butter, flour, chicken broth, and cream. It often includes Parmesan cheese as well, and sometimes a splash of sherry or white wine.
  • Tetrazzini is usually made with spaghetti and it is baked in the oven, often with a breadcrumb or cheese topping, unlike Alfredo which is typically just cooked on the stovetop.

So, while they're both creamy, delicious pasta dishes, Alfredo and Tetrazzini have distinct differences in their origins, ingredients, and preparation methods.

Is Tetrazzini Same As Spaghetti?

Tetrazzini and spaghetti are not the same thing, but they are related in the sense that spaghetti is often used in the preparation of Tetrazzini.

Spaghetti is a type of pasta. It's long, thin, and cylindrical, and it's one of the most popular types of pasta worldwide. Spaghetti can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from spaghetti with marinara sauce or meatballs to spaghetti carbonara.

Tetrazzini, on the other hand, is a specific dish that's typically made with spaghetti. It's an American creation, named after Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, and it's a baked pasta dish that often includes poultry or seafood, mushrooms, and a creamy sauce, often topped with cheese or breadcrumbs.

So while spaghetti is an ingredient that can be used in many dishes, Tetrazzini is a specific recipe that typically uses spaghetti as its pasta component.

What To Serve With Chicken Tetrazzini?

When serving chicken tetrazzini, you can complement its creamy and savory flavors with a variety of delicious accompaniments. Serve it with a fresh green salad with a tangy vinaigrette on the side. The crispness and brightness of the salad will provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the dish. Additionally, a side of garlic bread or warm crusty Italian bread can be served to mop up the creamy sauce. Roasted or steamed vegetables, such as broccoli or asparagus, can add a pop of color and a nutritious element to the meal. Lastly, a glass of white wine or a light-bodied red wine, like a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, can complement the flavors of the chicken tetrazzini and elevate the dining experience. These accompaniments will create a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Here are our delicious recipes that you can serve with Chicken Tetrazzini:

What Is The Origin Of Chicken Tetrazzini?

Chicken Tetrazzini is named after the Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini. Despite its Italian-sounding name, the dish is not from Italy but is an American creation. It's believed to have been invented in the early 20th century, although the exact origins are a bit murky.

Several sources credit its creation to the chefs at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where Tetrazzini was living at the time. It's thought to have been a tribute to the singer during the height of her fame. Others claim the dish was first prepared in New York.

The original version of the dish was likely made with turkey, but it can also be prepared with other types of poultry (like chicken), seafood, or even vegetables. Despite variations in protein, a typical Tetrazzini always includes a pasta like spaghetti, a creamy sauce, and a cheese or breadcrumb topping before being baked to a golden finish. The dish remains popular in the United States, particularly as a way to use leftover turkey or chicken.

Chicken Tetrazzini is a perfect example of the fusion of cultures and how culinary creativity can lead to a dish's fame. Despite its Italian-inspired name, it was born in the United States, with recipes for it appearing in American cookbooks from the early 20th century. Named after Luisa Tetrazzini, an Italian opera star who was residing in San Francisco at the time, the dish is a testament to her popularity and the impression she left on the American public.

The dish is known for its versatility, allowing for a range of ingredients to suit individual tastes. The key components, however, remain consistent: pasta, poultry (or seafood), a creamy white sauce, and a crunchy, browned topping usually made from breadcrumbs or grated cheese. Spaghetti is often the pasta of choice, but any pasta can work. Chicken is commonly used, but turkey is also an excellent option, especially for using up leftovers after a holiday meal. Some variations even incorporate vegetables like peas or bell peppers to add color and nutritional value.

What makes Chicken Tetrazzini truly special is its comfort-food quality. The creamy sauce, hearty pasta, and tender chicken, all brought together and baked until bubbly and golden, create a dish that is warming and satisfying. It's the kind of dish that brings families together around the dinner table, perfect for weeknight dinners and special enough for guests. Its origins may be a bit muddled, but there's no doubt that Chicken Tetrazzini has made its mark as a beloved dish in American cuisine.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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