GINNA PARSONS: Creamy chicken dish benefits from sherry

GINNA PARSONS

GINNA PARSONS

Chicken Tetrazzini is one of those dishes I’ve been making for about 15 years now. It’s not something I grew up with – my mother didn’t do a lot of casseroles or bakes because my father was a meat-and-potatoes man.

I’ve tried several different recipes over the years. Some use canned soups, some add green peas or broccoli florets. Almost all of them have both mushrooms and black olives, two ingredients I think are essential to a good tetrazzini.

The first time I made the recipe below, I followed someone’s suggestion and used white wine in place of the dry sherry. But after reading in the “Food Lover’s Companion” that the original dish – believed to be named for Italian opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini – was made with spaghetti, chicken and a sherry Parmesan cream sauce, I decided sherry was also essential.

When I made this Sunday evening, I used the sherry and the dish turned out beautifully. I had planned to serve a salad and crusty French bread with it, but I spent most of the weekend feeling puny, so this was my only offering.

Chicken Tetrazzini

6 tablespoons butter, divided

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup half-and-half

4 cups cooked diced chicken

1⁄4 cup dry sherry or white wine

8 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained

1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1⁄2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-low heat; sauté sliced mushrooms in butter until golden. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butte. Add flour and salt, stirring until smooth. Add chicken broth and half-and-half and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened. Add chicken, cooked mushrooms and sherry or white wine; heat through. Place cooked, drained spaghetti in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish; pour sauce over noodles and stir to combine.

Combine Parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serves 8.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.