One day. Just one day of I need a light jacket weather is all it takes for me to start craving some serious comfort food like this Chicken Tetrazzini for Four. When I was growing up in Jeddah my mother would throw lots of dinner parties, elaborate affairs with many mains and an almost equal number of desserts. Or so it seemed. For a while Chicken Tetrazzini was part of the regular rotation. It eventually went out of vogue and became replaced by her Chicken & Cheese casserole, but for some reason I thought of it recently and decided to make it. I had her recipe which I scribbled all over and as well as other recipes for Chicken Tetrazzini and I remembered why it is that I don't make it.
Most recipes for Chicken Tetrazzini make enough for a small army. I am not always feeding a small army. Most recipes also call for a can of this and a can of that and I prefer to avoid those. So some adjustments in portions and flavors later here is my version, a Chicken Tetrazzini for Four. It has the classic elements - a pasta, peas, protein, and mushrooms. It also has some lovely flavor from the thyme, chilli flakes, nutmeg and Parmesan. And I manage to do all of that without hitting up the canned soup aisle.
As a quick note the broth/stock that you use will determine the flavor of this dish. In theory we would all have batches of homemade chicken broth hanging out in the freezer, but let's be real for a second and admit that that's not always the case. Use whatever is convenient for you, but just don't season till the end because some broths can be pretty salty.
Chicken Tetrazzini for Four
- ½ lb Linguine
- ¾ cup Chicken cut into bite sized pieces
- Juice of Half a Lemon
- ½ cup Diced Onions
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- Fat Pinch Thyme
- ½ tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- 6 oz Mushrooms
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 3 tbsp Neutral Oil
- ⅓ cup Flour
- 1 ½ cup Chicken Broth
- 1 ½ cup Milk
- ½ cup Frozen Peas
- A Grating of Nutmeg
- ¼ cup Parmesan (grated)
- Salt, Pepper, Cayenne for Seasoning
- ½ cup Panko
- ½ cup Parmesan (grated)
- 2 tbsp Melted Butter
- Chopped Parsley for final Garnish (Optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Boil Pasta in salted water until al dente and drain
- Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, cayenne
- Put 1 tbsp of oil in a pot and cook chicken pieces on medium high heat till done, making sure you create flavor and get some nice brown bits on each side
- Remove chicken w a slotted spoon and deglaze the pot with lemon juice
- Add the remaining oil + butter and once the butter melts add the onions, garlic, thyme and chilli flakes and cook on medium heat till the onions have softened
- Wipe the mushrooms clean, remove the stalks and slice them, putting them in the pot when the onions are translucent.
- When the mushrooms have softened and cooked through sprinkle the flour over the mushroom onion mix stirring frequently until the flour starts to smell cooked, the mix will darken a little
- Gradually add the broth + milk whisking to make sure it incorporates well.
- Grate in nutmeg, add peas and cook till slightly thickened about 5-10 minutes. It will still have a saucy consistency
- Add parmesan, adjust seasoning. It should taste just a little salty
- Mix in the cooked pasta and put in a lightly buttered dish. I used a 11*7 dish, but a square 9*9 would work too
- Toss the melted butter, half the parmesan and panko and scatter overtop. Top with the remaining parmesan - this will give you that savory, crunchy, lattice effect
- Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and the pasta is bubbly. Top with chopped parsley.