Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tetrazzini: As American As Apple Pie

     Possibly even more so; while the "Italian" dish you know as Turkey Tetrazzini was named for an Italian -- the extraordinary coloratura soprano Luisa Tetrazzini* -- it was invented here in the United States, either at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where the singer lived, or at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New Your City.

    Better yet, there's no fixed list of ingredients.  Turkey, a cream sauce of some kind, some sort of vegetable, usually served over thin pasta.  May or may not be baked....

     So when inspiration hit last night, I didn't feel constrained.
     A daytime TV show cooking segment had included the reminder that most ground turkey is optimized to be just about zero fat -- and that keeps you from getting the flavor.  The speaker recommended looking for ground turkey with dark and white meat in it, not the ultra-lean stuff, pointing out that turkey is already plenty lean.  It reminded me that I hadn't made Turkey Tetrazzini for a long time.

     Our market turned out to not have anything but low-fat turkey -- but the very lean turkey and some sweet Italian sausage, about 50/50 by weight, seemed like a good compromise.  Browned, with fresh mushrooms and green onions added near the end of the cooking process, it was a great start.

     I added some diced sweet peppers, the small ones sold in bagged lots, and some greens--  My "old standard" recipe calls for spinach, but there was some spinach/arugula mix that looked good.  Pushed the meat and mushrooms to the sides, poured in the peppers and let them cook while I rinsed the greens.   Snipped the greens in atop the peppers, covered and let it go until they started to brighten up, then poured in cream of mushroom soup and a drained can of diced tomatoes.  I saved the drained tomato liquid and added just enough to the pan to get a nice, thick texture.  Covered and let it cook until everything was warmed through and bubbling.  You can serve it over pasta, or not, and a generous handful of shredded Parmesan on top adds a nice note to the flavor.

     Tam thought it was pretty good -- and so did I.
* She seems to have been remarkably well thought of, with a bubbly personality quite at odds with the stereotype of an operatic soprano.  Her singing is effortless-sounding, even the highest notes.


Ken said...

Filing for reference when the weather breaks.

Rick T said...

I knew Peaches Melba was named for a singer but had never heard that about Turkey Tetrazzini.. Now I know better where Terry Pratchett got those bits in Last Continent.