tetrazzini

     There is nothing worse than spending all afternoon fixing a meal for your fam, then watching them wolf it down in five minutes. How rude :(
     I found a remedy for that... Make something that takes mere minutes to construct, then relax. Enjoy the lovely fall weather... feet up on your back porch, coffee in hand. Ahhhh.
     Here is my recipe for tetrazzini... Pasta enrobed in a cheesey sauce, with chicken or turkey, mushrooms, onion and garlic and those little red pimientos. Some versions add celery (ick,) and top with buttered crumbs or slivered almonds... or both. Around here, the finished product usually fluctuates with my mood, how much time I have to make it and what's in the pantry.
     It is fast and easy. You can make it ahead if you like, then bake it just before dinner. Throughout the years, I have employed all manner of cooked chicken. This is a great way to disguise the upcoming Thanksgiving turkey reruns.
     Recently, I needed to use up some cooked chicken breasts left from Chicken Southern Living, with even a bit of gravy hanging around. I took it to dinner with friends and came home with an empty dish... Reuse, repurpose and recycle ;)
Ingredients
1 pound spaghetti noodles
2 c. cooked chicken, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 med. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large jar, sliced red pimientos, drained
3 T. butter
3 T. AP flour
1/4 c. dry white wine
1 t. chicken base
1/2 c. low fat milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 c. sharp cheddar
1/2 c. parmesan, shaved
2 t. dried italian seasoning
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. italian bread crumbs
1/2 stick of butter, melted
Directions
Cook spaghetti noodles until al dente. Drain and keep warm. In a large saute pan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add butter and mushrooms to pan and cook for three or four minutes. Add pimientos and warm through. Toss with flour, then add wine and chicken base. Stir in milk and soup, making sure that lumps of flour are incorporated.
At this point, I usually dump the whole shebang... cooked chicken, soup and veggie mixture, pasta, seasoning and cheese into a large mixing bowl to blend. It is easier to move around this way. Add lots of black pepper. Taste to see if it needs any salt... it usually doesn't.
Turn it all into a large casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Blend the bread crumbs and melted butter together and sprinkle over the top to make it pretty. Bake casserole at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, until it gets bubbly and brown on top.
Serve it with a salad and garlic bread...
so. darned. easy.

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