There is rarely a comfort food I will turn my back on. And this classic Turkey Tetrazzini noodle casserole with a creamy sauce, mushrooms, and a modicum of leftover turkey meat—because when you cook a turkey, there will most likely always be leftovers—makes me want to make mealtime memories every time.
At our house, Turkey Tetrazzini is a holiday and potluck favorite, and next to my Curry Turkey Pot Pie, is one of my favorite ways to use up leftover turkey. But in my opinion why wait for leftovers? I’ll readily fix my favorite turkey breast recipe any day of the week regardless of whether there’s a special occasion to celebrate or not.
In fact, a semblance of this recipe is one of the first meals I made as an adult, when my husband and I served it at the dining table of our first home for my grandma and grandpa for a special dinner just for the four of us.
My grandpa loved it. My grandma gushed over my cooking skills. And I was simply relieved that it came out edible and on time. It’s one of my favorite reasons I love making food for others, for the special memories I recall whenever I think of a special dish.
There’s not much that could have made my original turkey tetrazzini casserole better than it already was, but I got a hankering to mess around with my original recipe and make an addition.
So what is my secret ingredient to take this classic to a new level of goodness? Creamy avocados.
Many recipes for Turkey Tetrazzini call for cream to create and thicken the sauce but for this recipe, I’ve replaced the cream with a simple butter and flour roux that’s thickened with chicken broth instead. Then I amped up the flavor and the thickening power by blending avocados into the velvety Parmesan cheese sauce.
Not only does creaming in avocado add the avocado’s delicious flavor to this dish but we’re also replacing the majority of cream’s saturated fat with good fats from the avocado.
It’s a win-win all the way around, and a new comfort food that I’ll embrace with open arms. Okay, make that open mouth. Come on over, I’ll make it for you sometime.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Turkey Avocado Tetrazzini Recipe
This classic creamy turkey and noodle casserole gets a unique twist with the addition of avocado to make a healthier, lightened-up sauce.
- 16 ounces spaghetti noodles
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more for the baking dish
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- ½ pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
- Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken or turkey broth
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Juice from one lemon
- 2 avocados, seeded, halved, and peeled
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 4 cups shredded turkey
- 1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cook the noodles in salted water according to package directions or until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl then set aside.
- Meanwhile heat melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When butter melts, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fresh thyme leaves and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- In a separate saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat then whisk in the flour, stirring constantly until the flour smells nutty and is lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and raise the temperature to medium high, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the wine. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the avocado halves. Cover the blender but leave the plastic center of the blender topper off to vent the heat from the sauce. Blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Add ¾ cup of the Parmesan cheese, grated nutmeg and lemon juice and mix to combine.
- Pour the avocado sauce over the pasta, add the peas, turkey and reserved mushroom mixture and mix well to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more kosher salt or pepper to taste. If mixture is too thick, add a little reserved pasta broth until creamy.
- Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Add the bread crumbs and reserved ¼ cup Parmesan cheese to a small dish and drizzle with the melted butter. Toss to combine.
- Prepare a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with butter. Pour in the spaghetti mixture and sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown. Serve immediately.
- Originally published here.
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