Chicken Tetrazzini (creamy chicken mushroom pasta bake)
Recipe video above. A big, creamy pasta bake with juicy chicken and mushrooms. Cheesy, hot and completely delicioius! Rumoured to be named after an Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini when an American Chef created this dish for her. So it's not authentic Italian - but it doesn't make this any less delicious!!
Keyword: Chicken Pasta Bake, chicken tetrazzini, pasta bake, pasta casserole bake, tetrazzini pasta
500g / 1lbspaghetti or other long pasta, cooked per packet(penne, macaroni, ziti ok too) (Note 1)
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large pot over high heat. Add chicken, sprinkle with pinch of salt and pepper. Cook 1 1/2 minutes until golden.
Turn chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute until golden then remove onto plate - doesn't need to be fully cooked (will cook more in oven).
Rest 5 minutes, then chop into small pieces, or shred.
Sauce & pasta
Preheat oven to 160°C / 325°F.
Cook mushrooms: Melt 4 tbsp butter over high heat in the same pot. Add mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes until starting to go floppy but not yet golden.
Add onion: Add garlic and onion, cook for 3 minutes until mushrooms are golden. Add a pinch of salt and pepper halfway through.
Add flour & milk: Turn heat down to medium. Add flour. Stir for 30 seconds. Add milk and stir for 10 seconds or until it thickens (see video at 52 sec).
Add cream and broth: Add chicken stock, cream, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir, then let the mixture heat up, stirring every now and then so it doesn't catch on the base, and cook until the sauce thickens enough so you can draw a path on the back of the spoon (video at 1.04). Do not make it very thick - it gets thicker in next steps.
Add cheese & pasta: Turn stove off. Stir through half the cheese (will melt in oven), then add pasta and chicken. Toss to mix, taste and add more salt if needed.
Bake: Pour into 23 x 33cm / 9 x 13" pan, smooth surface. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 25 minutes until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately!
1. Pasta - risoni/orzo and other tiny pasta won't create enough volume for this recipe, Either use this recipe, or cook double the amount of pasta.2. Chicken - thighs best because they stay juicier in things like pasta bakes where they're cooked for longer than ideal. Breast and tenderloin fine too.Can also use store bought rotisserie / roast chicken but sauce flavour won't be as good - dissolving golden bits on base of pan from searing chicken ("fond") adds extra flavour into sauce.3. Cool pasta = absorbs less sauce while in oven, so pasta doesn't bloat and you don't end up with a thick, sauceless pasta bale.4. Substitutions for creamy sauce ingredients:
Butter - sub margarine. Sub with olive oil + switch 1 cup of the milk for cream (if you can, to make up richness/flavour). Butter is flavour, so try not to skip this.
Flour - any type of flour fine here, white, wholemeal, self raising, gluten free. Cornflour/cornstarch gluten free sub: Mix 3.5 tbsp with splash of water and add that in with the milk. And obviously, use GF pasta!
Milk - any type. Dairy, non dairy, full fat, low fat, fresh, long life, milk powder (reconstituted). Up to 1.5 cups milk can be substituted with water.
Stock/bouillon powder or cube or seasoning instead of liquid stock/broth - use 2 cubes or 4 tsp powder, chicken or vegetable (Vegeta is my fave). Sub with 1/2 cup extra parmesan + salt to taste.
No cheese? Add 3/4 cup / 75g shredded parmesan, or 1 - 1.5 tsp chicken stock powder.
5. Leftovers - Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, reheat in microwave. Keeps better than most pasta bakes because this is saucier so you don't end up with sad dried up stodgy leftovers.6. Make ahead / freezing: Toss hot pasta with dab of butter of drizzle of oil (stops it bloating), then let it cool. Make sauce, cool, toss with pasta and assemble pasta bake. Fridge 4 days or freezer 3 months, thaw then bake 40 minutes loosely covered with foil (remove for last 10 min). OR bake from frozen - foil covered for 50 minutes or until centre is piping hot, then remove cover and bake until cheese has golden spots.7. Nutrition per serving. Cut 60 calories by switching cream for more milk, cut a further 75 calories by switching the cheese with 1 cup parmesan cheese (stronger flavour so you need less).