Do you know what season it is?! Yes, it’s finally FALL!!! Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer, grilling outdoors, soaking up the sun and swimming or lounging by the pool, but I really love boots. And sweaters. And scarves. And my crockpot. And warm pasta dishes like this one.
One night, my daughter and I were at my parents and my stepmom was feeding my daughter a pasta dish. I asked what it was because she was practically inhaling it while throwing in “mmmmmm” every breath she could. My stepmom said she made the Pioneer Woman’s turkey tetrazzini dish. I figured this was worth looking up if you can get a child to eat like that!
So I did.
And then I changed a few minor details and gave it the ol’ college try.
And I nailed it.
No, I’m not trying to be conceited or egotistical, but when your husband eats 3 helpings (laaaaarge helpings, mind you) and your one-year-old devours two helpings on her own, you’ve got a winner. Winner, winner, chicken tetrazzini dinner!
This recipe is great because 1. It makes a giant batch 2. It freezes wonderfully. 3. It’s a crowd pleaser. 4. There aren’t many ingredients we don’t already have on hand. And 5. It’s a one pot dish! (I hate doing dishes)
Honestly, there aren’t many things I didn’t already have on hand to make this dish. I almost always have bacon and peas in the freezer, along with chicken stock in the pantry. For the most part, it’s buying a rotisserie chicken, mushrooms and maybe some Monterrey Jack since I usually only have cheddar on hand. And really, if you had a shredded cheese blend already on hand, it would work just fine here. The Jack just melts so well and makes this dish divine. But hey, cheese is cheese. As for the chicken, you can easily use chicken breasts you may have in the freezer but since I was at Costco grabbing some things, I picked up a whole chicken while I was there. It was a fantastic shortcut.
Also, the recipe calls for spaghetti noodles but I used shells because that’s what I had. Now I don’t use anything but shells because we liked it that way. Use whatever floats your boat.
You may be wondering (like I did), what is “tetrazzini”? My husband lovingly calls this meal “that pasta thing that’s so good”. So that’s what tetrazzini means in our house, apparently. Here’s what Google says:
I certainly didn’t use any almonds or cream, but the second definition looks closer. Regardless, it’s just good.
- 16 oz pasta, any kind, cooked and drained
- 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/3 cup flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 8 oz cream cheese, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups monterrey jack cheese, shredded + more for topping
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated + more for topping
- 2-3 cups shredded chicken (I use a whole rotisserie chicken from the store)
- 2 - 16 oz bags frozen peas
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1. Cook the pasta. Drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 2. Over medium heat, cook the bacon and set aside. Drain most of the bacon fat.
- 3. In the same pan, melt the butter and saute the garlic for a minute. Add the mushrooms and saute for a few more.
- 4. Add the wine and let the liquid reduce by half. Add the flour to make a roux.
- 5. Add the broth a little at a time and allow to thicken.
- 6. Add the cream cheese and stir to combine. (Being cubed will help it to incorporate easier)
- 7. Add the bacon, peas, chicken and cheeses. Stir to combine completely.
- 8. Add the pasta and stir. At this point, add more broth if needed. Remember, the pasta will soak it up in the oven so it can be a little bit soupy.
- 9. Top with more cheese and bake for 30 minutes.
When I make this pasta, I love to freeze the leftovers. It’s great for a weeknight meal or a quick dinner because you’re busy with life. Or when you want something your kid will eat for sure. No matter what the reason, it’s just something that should make your family’s menu.