Easy Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe

The origin of tetrazzini is hazy. 

Most people think of as Italian, but despite likely being named after an Italian opera singer, according to Memorie di Angelina, tetrazzini is surprisingly believed to have originated far from the Mediterranean coastline. The most famous story about its origins goes back to chef Ernest Arbogast when he worked at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, California (a city where singer Luisa Tetrazzini lived for a while). Others believe that an Italian chef masterminded the dish at the New York Knickerbocker Hotel to celebrate one of Tetrazzini's performances. Whoever created the dish, the famous opera singer will forever be its face thanks to an apparent trend in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that involved naming dishes after celebrities. 

Tetrazzini can be surprisingly varied depending on who's cooking the dish. Recipe creator Melissa Olivieri has a great take on the baked pasta that offers an easy way to enjoy this creamy dish in just under an hour. 

If your mouth is already watering, let's take a look at how you can get this tasty pasta onto your plate.

Gather your turkey tetrazzini ingredients

For this recipe, you'll need one 900-gram package of spaghetti, unsalted butter, a large onion, garlic cloves, all-purpose flour, and cream cheese. You'll also need chicken broth, half-and-half cream, Parmesan cheese, frozen sugar snap peas, leftover cooked turkey meat, ground black pepper, Kosher salt, mozzarella cheese, and panko bread crumbs.

When it comes to the chicken broth, Olivieri says vegetarians can swap it out for vegetable broth. As for the cheese, if you're not a fan of mozzarella or don't have any in the fridge, feel free to swap it with your favorite kind. "My suggestion would be a nice cheddar," Olivieri said.

Cook the spaghetti

Start by preheating your oven to 350 F and greasing a 9x13-inch casserole dish. This is where you'll combine your pasta with your sauce base for baking at the end of the recipe.

The second step is getting your pasta ready. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil — this means large bubbles should be continuously bursting on the surface of the water — over high heat. Afterward, add your pasta and cook it until it's al dente, which means firm to the bite. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package for the best results, and don't be afraid to taste a piece of pasta to see if it's ready.

You can also add a hefty amount of salt to the water once it begins to boil to help get your pasta al dente. 

Cook your onion, seasonings, and flour

Now you need to start crafting the base sauce for your tetrazzini. Grab a large saucepan and melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Once it's melted, add the diced onions and cook them until they're translucent — this should take about five minutes. Afterward, toss in your garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir them in until they're combined with the base. Once everything is an even consistency, cook your mixture for about 30 seconds.

The final step is to add some flour to the seasoned onions and let it cook for one minute. Be sure to stir the mixture constantly throughout this time to ensure that everything is properly mixed.

Add the cream cheese, broth, cream, peas, and turkey

Reduce your heat to medium-low and add the cream cheese to your tetrazzini base. There's no need to chop it up in advance as long as it's softened. Use a wooden spoon to stir the cheese and break it down until it's evenly combined with the rest of the ingredients.

Now, slowly whisk in the chicken broth until it's also fully combined into the base, which should have a creamy texture. From here, add the half-and-half and the Parmesan cheese to the mixture and continue whisking the sauce until it's smooth and begins to thicken. When whisking, be sure to move back and forth as opposed to in circular motions, and use your wrist to drive the motion, not your arm.

The final ingredients to add are the frozen sugar snap peas and the cooked, cubed turkey. Use your wooden spoon to slowly stir the mixture until all of the ingredients are evenly combined. Afterward, remove your sauce from the heat.

Bake your pasta and sauce

With your pasta and sauce ready to go, you can now combine the two. Pour the turkey and cream sauce mixture into your drained pot of pasta and top off the mixture with the chopped parsley. When the pasta is all coated in sauce, pour the tetrazzini into your casserole dish and top it with mozzarella cheese and panko bread crumbs. Once you're done, place the dish in your oven — which should be preheated to 350 F by now — and bake it until the top is golden brown, which should only take about 20 minutes.

Serve your easy turkey tetrazzini

Your creamy and delicious pasta is ready to eat and definitely filling on its own, but take a moment to consider pairing it with a light side.

"Because this is a heavy dish with the cream sauce, I always pair it with a nice salad," Olivieri says. "My personal favorite is thinly sliced fennel lightly drizzled in olive oil and a good quality white balsamic vinegar."

You can also add some additional toppings, including chopped parsley. "This will all come down to personal preference," says Olivieri. "I like to keep it simple and classic but you could add additional cheeses, chopped pancetta, etc."

If you can't eat all of your tetrazzini and have some leftovers, you're in luck! Olivieri says that this dish tastes just fine reheated. "This is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. We keep any leftovers in a tightly sealed container to keep it fresh," she says. "You can easily enjoy this tetrazzini for three days after the original bake."

Easy Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
5 from 20 ratings
This take on the cheesy, baked pasta dish offers an easy way to enjoy this creamy dish in just under an hour. Try this easy turkey tetrazzini recipe tonight!
Prep Time
Cook Time
Easy Turkey Tetrazzini in bowl with parsley garnish
Total time: 50 minutes
  • 1 (900-gram) package spaghetti
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup frozen sugar snap peas
  • 3 cups leftover cooked turkey meat
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  3. Cook the pasta until it's al dente, then drain it and set it aside.
  4. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook them until they're translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir the pot and cook for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the flour and cook for an additional 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cream cheese, stirring with a wooden spoon to break the cheese down into the mixture.
  8. Whisk in the chicken broth slowly until it's fully combined and creamy.
  9. Add the half-and-half along with the Parmesan cheese and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and it begins to thicken.
  10. Add the frozen peas and stir, then add the cubed turkey meat. Slowly stir the mixture until it is fully combined. Remove it from the heat.
  11. Add your sauce mixture to the pasta pot along with the chopped parsley. Use a pair of tongs to fully mix the cream sauce with the pasta until it is evenly coated.
  12. Pour everything into your casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese and panko bread crumbs.
  13. Bake the dish in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  14. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!
Calories per Serving 1,170
Total Fat 61.2 g
Saturated Fat 35.8 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 240.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 103.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Total Sugars 9.0 g
Sodium 1,055.8 mg
Protein 50.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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