Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Laying all the Recipe Cards on the Table

Sorry that I haven't been around for a while. There were school finals, then lots of holiday events, birthday parties, and just general busyness. I'm still going to be posting occasionally, but with an even heavier school load this coming semester (starts next week!) I know that it's going to be sporadic at best. I do however actually have a recipe to share- shocking, I know! I had a long list of to-do's for my winter break, half of which of course have not gotten done. Funny how when you still work full time your winter school break doesn't really seem like much of a break. But, I have managed to get some casseroles into the freezer, which was one item on that long list. I even managed to finally make this Everyday Food recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini. This was in the April 2007 issue. Yes, 2007. As in 3, almost 4, years ago now. And it had been on my to-cook list since then. So, I guess this dish did more than double duty- it made two meals, but it also let me cross something off two lists! This recipe was time consuming for me, but I knew it would be so I blocked off a whole evening to make it. It's not that it's terribly hard, but I'm a slow worker and the prep work of shredding a whole rotisserie chicken and cleaning mushrooms took me awhile. It did come out deliciously though, and considering I've got one in the freezer for later I would say the effort was well worth it. I only wish I hadn't waited so long!

Chicken Tetrazzini
Recipe from Everyday Food; Serves 8
Chicken Tetrazzini

Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 tablespoons butter
1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced inch thick
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 14.5 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 pound linguine, broken in half
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed and drained

  • Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for pasta). In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
  • Make sauce: In same saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add milk, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and add 2 cups Parmesan and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente; drain and return to pot. Add sauce, chicken, peas, and mushrooms. Toss well to combine. Divide between two shallow 2-quart baking dishes; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Freeze (see below) or bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  • To freeze: After placing pasta mixture in baking dishes and sprinkling with Parmesan (step 3), cool to room temperature. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and freeze up to 3 months.
  • To bake from frozen: Bake, covered with foil, at 400 degrees, until center is warm, about 2 hours. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, about 20 minutes more. Serve.
  • To bake from thawed: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Bake, covered with foil, at 400 degrees, until center is warm, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until top is browned, about 20 minutes.
My notes: I didn't thaw the peas. Instead I just tossed them in during the last minute on the pasta's cook time. That did the trick just fine. Also, I bought bags of pre-shredded Parmesan cheese; recipe says grated, but the shredded worked just as well with less prep work from me. Also, I'm sure I've mentioned before, when freezing my casseroles I always wrap it first with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. I have to remove the plastic before I can put it in the oven, but I feel like the casseroles keep better this way.

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