There is something about opera singers that sends chefs scurrying to their stoves. In 1892, Auguste Escoffier, chef extraordinaire at the Savoy Hotel in London, was so taken with Australian soprano Dame Nellie Melba that he created Peach Melba, an ice cream sundae with peaches and raspberries. In Baltimore in 1987, Mimmo Cricchio, chef-owner of Da Mimmo, tossed together a tortellini dish with roasted peppers and dill for tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
Chicken Tetrazzini, too, is connected to a singer. Food historians say the dish was created in San Francisco and named for Luisa Tetrazzini, an enormously popular soprano in the early 20th century. It’s a real crowd pleaser of a casserole and a perfect dish to make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Golden brown on top and bubbling at the edges, the dish makes a spectacular presentation. Set it on a trivet when it comes out of the oven and use a large spoon for serving.
Breaking the spaghetti in half before adding to the pot makes it easier to serve. To thaw the corn, you can empty it into a strainer and drain the hot spaghetti over the top. After rinsing, transfer the pasta to the baking pan.
Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half
4 tablespoons butter
1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (14-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry sherry
3 cups chopped cooked turkey (2-inch pieces), about 1 pound
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan or shallow 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cool water and drain again. Spread evenly in pan.
3. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add flour and stir to combine. Add broth, cream, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in sherry. Remove from heat and stir in turkey and corn. Spoon over spaghetti and sprinkle with cheese.
4. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Serves 6.
Per serving: 530 calories, 25g fat, 115mg chol., 29g part., 45g carbs., 2g fiber, 1080mg sodium
Photo credit: Teresa Blackburn