Friday, November 26, 2010

Tacchino alla Tetrazzini

Turkey Tetrazzini is so very comfortable and tasty!
     Turkey Tetrazzini was created in the early 1900's by a great American chef for an Italian opera star named Luisa Tetrazzini.  The aroma of almonds, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, mirepoix vegetables, peas and roasted turkey is heavenly!
     Turkey Tetrazzini has become a forgotten relic of the past in recent years.  "Greasy Spoon" restaurants sometimes serve a very bastardized version of this recipe that is worth avoiding!  Cheap diners make Turkey Tetrazzini with canned cream of mushroom soup that is awful.
     The reputation of  Turkey Tetrazzini took a turn for the worse, because only second rate cooks in cheap restaurants seemed to be the only cooks that made this entree.  School cafeterias and cheap buffets also offered really poor quality versions of Turkey Tetrazzini.  Badly prepared versions of Turkey Tetrazzini are comparable to a poorly prepared turkey a la king recipe.
     Way back when great chefs created these fine recipes, both Turkey Tetrazzini and turkey or chicken a la king were trendy delightful popular entrees.  On my prom night in high school, we went to a very fine traditional English restaurant.  The restaurant was famous for several menu items, including the original version of Turkey Tetrazzini.  Since Turkey Tetrazzini was a ladies entree, I ordered it for my prom night dinner.  I still remember how great that the well prepared Turkey Tetrazzini tasted.  It was like the flavor was created specifically for an Italian opera star!  
     When customers try any famous classic entree for the first time and the preparation of that entree is very poorly executed, then the customer usually associates the classic entree as an item to be avoided in the future.  My first experience with Turkey Tetrazzini was a good one, so I did some research to find out how the original recipe was made.
      This pasta entree was named after a famous opera diva, so this entree should look and taste like it was made for a famous Italian opera diva.  Tacchino alla Tetrazzini is made with Italian cooking techniques and it should be presented with simple classic Italian style.  Tacchino Tetrazzini was one of the first pasta entrees that I learned to make and it is still one of my favorites.
     Tacchino alla Tetrazzini Recipe:
     Angel hair capellini pasta only takes a few minutes to cook, so be careful not to overcook the pasta! Roasted turkey is needed for this recipe.  Roast some turkey ahead of time or buy a piece of roasted turkey at a delicatessen.
     Boil 1 large portion of angel hair capellini pasta in boiling water over high heat.
     When the pasta becomes al dente, drain the water off of the pasta.
     Cool the angel hair capellini pasta under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Place the angel hair capellini pasta into a bowl.
     Add a tiny splash of olive oil.  (The olive oil will keep the pasta from sticking together and breaking!)
     Toss the pasta with the small amount of olive oil.
     Set the pasta aside, till later in the recipe.
     Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 cup of finely diced carrot.
     Add 1/4 cup of finely diced onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of finely diced celery.
     Add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
     Saute the mirepoix vegetables, till the onions start to turn clear in color.
     Add 1/3 cup of mushrooms that are cut into mini wedges.  (Small portabella mushrooms are great for this recipe!)
     Saute till the mushrooms begin to become tender.
     Add 4 tablespoons of toasted chopped almonds.
     Saute and stir the ingredients for 1 minute.
     Add about 5 or 6 ounces of diced oven roasted turkey.
     Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
     Simmer and reduce the wine by half.
     Add 1 cup of cream.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 pinch of ground sage.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Add 3 tablespoons of grated imported Italian parmigiana cheese, while constantly stirring.
     Stir until the parmesan cheese melts into the sauce.
     Add 1/3 cup of thawed frozen peas.
     When the sauce reduces to a medium thin consistency, add the reserved al dente cooked angel hair capellini pasta.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Place the sauced pasta into an oven proof baking bowl or casserole dish.
     Sprinkle a small amount of fine plain bread crumbs over the pasta.
     Sprinkle a small amount of finely grated imported Italian parmesan cheese over the pasta.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of finely chopped Italian parsley over the pasta.
     Bake the pasta in a 350 degree oven, till the cheese and bread crumbs become very lightly toasted.
     Place the bowl of Tacchino alla Tetrazzini on a serving platter.
     Garnish with a slice of lemon slice that has chopped parsley sprinkled on it.
     Be sure to warn the guest that the pasta bowl is hot!
     Delicious!  The flavors of Tacchino alla Tetrazzini are light, warmly comfortable and elegant.  This pasta triggers the "feel good" sensation center of the appetite!  The almond and hint of lemon flavor is classic combination.
     As with any pasta, don't make this recipe too saucy.  Turkey Tetrazzini should not be served swimming in the sauce.  This recipe is great for extra Thanksgiving turkey bits and pieces.
     Larochette Manciat Macon-Morizottes 2005 is a very affordable French White Burgundy Chardonnay French table wine that is perfect with this pasta.
     Tacchino alla Tetrazzini is an awesome tasting classic pasta entree!  Ciao Baby!  ...  Shawna

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