Chicken Tetrazzini was one of the few foods I enjoyed eating in the school cafeteria at lunch time. I remember those nice cheesy bites of chicken, creamy sauce, and noodles were so delicious to me as a child. Growing up, my family did not eat a great deal of pasta. My father was strictly a meat and potatoes man. We did on occasion eat spaghetti, but not often. I believe that must be why I have such a love for pasta, it was something new to me, something special when I became an adult and moved out on my own.
I remember the first time I made Chicken Tetrazzini in my own home. A lady from church had provided me her recipe to use after I tried it at one of the church potluck dinners. I remember being so excited to be making this dish for myself. Back in those days, I could not afford the white wine and many of the other ingredients she suggested, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Today, I am thankful to be able to make the recipe as she shared it with me, with only a few small adaptations I have made over the years such as the addition of both peas and spinach and converting it to gluten free. This recipe is very rich and uses a good bit of butter, but it is simply delicious.
1 whole chicken or 4 cups chicken cubed
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 cups milk
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups very dry white wine or sherry
Zest from one lemon
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
2 cups Fresh Spinach leaves, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen baby peas
1 onion, diced (I prefer to use a sweet onion such as Walla Walla or Mayan)
8 oz. Sliced Brown Crimini Mushrooms
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary leaves, crushed
1 bunch flat parsley leaves, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 tsp. Paprika
1 1/2 cup grated Asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Romano cheese blend
1/4 cup Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
1/3 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour)
1 pkg (12oz) Gluten Free Rice Spaghetti Noodles
1. Place whole chicken into large pot full of water on stove, boil until cooked, approximately 1 hour. Very carefully, remove chicken from water, reserving the water as it is now a wonderful homemade chicken broth. Place chicken on a glass pie plate with edges or other glass container to cool.
Once chicken has cooled, remove skin and bones. Chop up chicken into bite sized pieces. You will need 4 cups. Place the 4 cups of chopped chicken into a bowl and set aside.
Strain reserved chicken broth from above to remove fat and other particles. I usually strain mine through twice to remove all of the impurities from the broth. A paper coffee filter works nicely for this, as does this.
Note: If you buy larger chickens like I do, package up remaining chicken to be used for a different recipe and place in refrigerator.
2. Pre-heat oven to 425°. Place 2 tsp butter into a skillet and melt on medium-low heat. Place mushrooms in skillet to sweat, turning periodically. When the mushrooms turn a nice dark golden brown color, add the onions, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and an additional 2 tsp. butter to the skillet with the mushrooms and saute on medium heat until the onions become translucent.
3. Add the wine to the skillet and cook until the wine evaporates. Place the vegetable mixture into the bowl with the chicken. Set aside.
4. Using same skillet, place 2 tsp. butter into the skillet along with all of the spinach. Cover with glass lid. Let spinach wilt, lifting lid occasionally to turn the spinach leaves. The wilting process only takes a few minutes. Stir in wilted spinach in the bowl with the chicken mixture.
5. Place pot of water on to boil.
6. Melt 4 tsp. butter in same skillet. Add flour and whisk for a few minutes, then add milk, whipping cream, strained chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, continuing to whisk so the liquid will not scorch. Once at a boil, turn temperature down to a simmer. Continue to whisk. The liquid will start to thicken a bit. Cook on simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add to chicken mixture, stir in well.
7. The pot of water should be boiling by now. Drizzle some olive oil into the pot (approx 4 tsp.). Drop in noodles (do not break in half). Set timer according to instructions on the box for al dente. Strain and rinse immediately with cold water.
8. Place noodles in a separate bowl and toss with olive oil (approx 2-3 tsp) to keep noodles from sticking.
9. Mix noodles and chicken mixture together with parsley flakes, and gluten free bread crumbs until all ingredients are well incorporated.
10. Grease a nice big casserole dish well. Pour chicken and noodle mixture into casserole dish. Top with grated cheese blend and then sprinkle with paprika.
11. Place casserole dish on top of a cookie sheet and into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is a nice golden brown color.
We enjoy eating our Chicken Tetrazzini with a nice green salad drizzled with a fruity vinaigrette dressing, and some steamed broccoli with red bell peppers on the side.