Every Thanksgiving I look for a new tasty way to repurpose all the leftover roast turkey meat post-holiday. This year I discovered turkey tetrazzini, and it is *hands-down* my new favorite way to put this savory roasted goodness to use! Pasta is always my go-to canvas for incorporating seasonal ingredients like umami-rich fall mushrooms and roasted turkey—it goes with absolutely everything and is the single most versatile ingredient in my pantry. Plus, dried pasta keeps for a long time, so I always have a few boxes on hand to use up whatever the garden and the farmer’s market happen to throw at me that day. Bright bell peppers, sweet summer squash, savory spinach leaves, fresh fennel fronds—all of it has been turned into a tasty seasonal pasta dinner at the Kosmas Flores household. Waste not want not, friends.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla®. The opinions and text are all my own, per usual!
I’ve definitely upped my pasta game over the past few weeks though, since I’m freshly returned from the Barilla Pasta World Championships in Italy and soaked up as much pasta-preparing information as humanly possible. I have some of my favorite tips in this post, but another one that’s *very* important is to bring the cooking water to a boil, *then* add salt, and then the pasta. Adding the salt before you bring the water to a boil is a no-no. In terms of how much salt to add to the cooking water, about 2 tablespoons of flake kosher sea salt to every 1 pound of pasta is a solid bet.
This turkey tetrazzini was inspired by some of the delicious pasta that I watched the chefs whipped up at the Barilla Pasta World Championship. On day 1, each of the 18 chefs competed against 1 other chef, and the winner made it to the next round of competition the next day. It was so intense to watch them prepare their dishes within only 1 hour, and with soooooo many people (including the judges!) watching them (I’m not a fast cook, so this is something that I’m particularly impressed by). My favorite dish from day 1 was the winner of the 2nd round of competitions that day, and it was a spaghetti with mushrooms, saffron cream, and a parsley pesto. I ended up using mushrooms and parsley in this turkey tetrazzini recipe because I loved the way the rich earthiness of the mushrooms contrasted with the bright flavor of the fresh parsley.
On day 2 of the competition, the remaining 9 chefs competed against each other, including the insanely talented Carolina Diaz from the USA (who you might remember from the US-qualifying round I helped judge!) After several rounds of intense competition, it came down to just TWO chefs: Chef Diaz of the US and Chef Toby Wang of China. Both chefs created beautiful and deeply flavorful dishes, but Chef Diaz clinched it! It’s the first time a woman has won the Pasta World Championship, and it couldn’t be more well-deserved. She’s an incredibly kind person and wonderfully talented chef, and I love the way she incorporates strong, vibrant flavors from her Mexican heritage into the dishes she creates. I incorporated a little heat in the form of red chili flakes into this turkey tetrazzini because I love the way the spice + heat contrasted with the olive oil in her dishes.
One of the reasons I love pasta so much is that it fuels my creativity, and works as a canvas for myself and other chefs to create incredibly versatile, beautiful, and delicious dishes in a wide range of shapes, colors, and textures with any kinds of veggies and proteins. There’s no limit to what you can create with pasta, and when you’re starting with Barilla, who have been making pasta for over 150 years and are the masters of pasta, you know you are in good hands.
So while your family is in town for the long weekend, make another get-together and whip up a communal plate of turkey tetrazzini to enjoy altogether. For me, there’s nothing more important than family and good food. I truly believe that food has a lot of relationship healing powers, and that a delicious meal made from scratch can always bring folks together. Cooking with and feeding someone is a beautiful way to express your love for them—you’re both spending time creating something together and nourishing them at the same time. It’s pretty magical stuff.
Roast Turkey (Skip If Using Leftover Turkey Meat)
- 4 pound turkey breast bone in skin on
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon flake sea salt
- Pinch freshly cracked black pepper
Garlic + Parsley Toasted Bread Crumbs
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic cloves minced
- ⅔ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large or 8 small shallots finely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms sliced
- ½ teaspoon flake kosher sea salt
- 8 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 2 cups freshly shaved parmesan cheese
- 1 cup freshly shaved white cheddar cheese
- 1 pound Barilla Classic Fettuccine
- 4 cups roast turkey cut into 1-inch cubes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub the turkey breast with the olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Place the turkey on a baking sheet, skin side facing up. Roast in the oven until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the juices run clear, about an hour and a half. Remove, allow to cool to warm, remove the meat from the bone, and cut the roast turkey into roughly 1-inch cubes.
Garlic + Parsley Toasted Bread Crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl mix together the garlic and olive oil and allow to sit together for 5 minutes. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Evenly spread out the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until golden, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure they toast evenly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Toss with the parsley and red chili flakes and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and stir to coat in the oil. Cook until softened and transparent, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the mushrooms and salt stir to coat. Continue cooking until the mushrooms soften and deepen in color, they’ve released their moisture which has evaporated from the pan, and the mixture has become very fragrant, about 30 to 40 minutes more, stirring every few minutes. Set aside.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, you can prepare the base of the sauce. Pulse together the garlic, egg yolks, and 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil in a blender or food processor. Remove the center lid from the blender to create a small hole in the cap. With the blender running at medium low speed, *slowly* drizzle in the olive oil in the thinnest drizzle possible. You can stop the blender to wipe down the walls of it with a spatula if needed. You want the garlic bits at the bottom.
- Add the white wine in a drizzle, then the lemon juice, and then the thyme leaves, parmesan, and cheddar cheese. Blend until smooth. Add salt to taste. Set the sauce aside.
- Prepare the Barilla Classic Fettuccine according to the package directions. When the pasta is nearly done but not quite al dente, use tongs or a pasta claw to transfer the fettuccine to a large pot and immediately toss with the olive oil sauce. Add some of the hot pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, until the sauce becomes creamy, about 4 to 6 tablespoons. Add the roast turkey and the sauteed mushroom mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and serve immediately.