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Turkey Tetrazzini (after many years of waiting for leftover turkey!)

I'm gonna be honest with you.  This is the first year EVER that I've had enough turkey left over to make a whole separate dish.  Two, actually!  We cook a big bird every year, too...and often an extra breast.  We like to eat.  Plus, there's a bunch of us.  I mean sure...we usually have enough left to make a couple of good sandwiches, but this year...  I probably shouldn't be excited about it.  The whole reason we had so much turkey left over was because my brother and one of my sisters, niece, and nephew weren't able to make it to our family Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Don't worry, we sent them leftovers.  That said, I AM excited.  I can't help it!  They get me, though...so I know they're not offended that I'm happy about extra turkey at their expense.  I have been saving a recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini from Saveur Magazine for 4 years (that would be 37 issues ago) in hopes of making it with leftover Turkey Day turkey.  I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't just make some turkey so that I could make the dish.  I'm weird like that.  It just wouldn't have been the same. 

I know some of you may look at this recipe and balk at the ketchup...but seriously...it wouldn't be the same without it.  It adds this oddly addicting complexity.  It's one of those things that makes you cock your head and squint your eyes a bit in wonder while it's teasing its way across your tongue.  You're trying to make up your mind whether or not you're down with it.  So, after you've made your way through that first serving...you just go ahead and dish up another...because you must be thorough in your decision making.  I'm a believer- it is so good.  The kids loved it.  The grown-ups loved it.  I will be sure to make extra-extra turkey every year from here on out, so that making this Turkey Tetrazzini becomes an after-Thanksgiving tradition!


Turkey Tetrazzini
adapted from Saveur #97

2 Tbs. butter, divided, at room temperature
7 c. turkey stock/broth (or chicken)
1 red bell pepper, seeded & diced
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt 
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. (uncooked) whole grain spaghetti
4 c. (~1 lb) cooked, shredded turkey
2 c. peas, thawed if frozen
1 c. ketchup (homemade or your favorite, I like Simply Heinz)
7 oz. sautéed mushrooms (or a drained 8 oz. can)
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a deep casserole dish (~9x13") with 1 Tbs. of the butter. Combine broth, peppers, onions, and garlic in a large pot; bring to a boil and then salt the water. Add the spaghetti in uneven-ish broken pieces (~1/3's).  Cook until just al dente (time varies by brand- check your package). Turn off heat, then gently stir in remaining butter, turkey, peas, ketchup, and mushrooms.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour into buttered casserole dish and spread cheese evenly over the top.  Cook for ~30 mins, or until cheese is melted and liquid is bubbling.

Let the Turkey Tetrazzini cool a bit before serving.  There are juices that come out into the pan...but this is a good thing!  Once we ate our initial serving, I let it cool in the pan, then refrigerated it.  After it is completely cold, it is SUPER easy to cut into servings for reheating later (just use a thin-edged spatula to cut into large squares and transfer to smaller containers).  The pasta and other goodies soak up that "extra" liquid and keep the leftovers plenty moist. 

Do you have any must-have turkey left over dishes?  I'd LOOOOVE to know what they are...leave me a link in the comments if you've posted it!

*This post is linked to:
Ruth (creator of PPN) of Once Upon A Feast is hosting Presto Pasta Nights this week...