Serves 6 to 8
Chicken Tetrazzini is an American creation. The one thing we know about it for sure is that it was named after the famed Italian soprano Luisa Tetrazzini, also known as the Florentine Nightingale. She was a favorite with the San Francisco Opera audiences, and it is said that the dish was invented there, but there are some conflicting claims that the dish was created in New York, at the then Knickerbocker Hotel, where most of the Metropolitan Opera stars stayed in the early 1900s.
Another confusion about Tetrazzini is whether chicken, turkey, or salmon should be used in the recipe. As far as I am concerned, any or all of these options can make a good Tetrazzini.
- 5 tablespoons butter, plus more for the baking dish
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for pasta pot
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
- 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 head broccoli, in small florets
- 1 pound linguine, broken in half
- 4 cups shredded or chopped leftover cooked chicken, without skin and bones
- 1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch Pyrex or ceramic baking dish. Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta.
Heat the chicken stock in a small pot. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook the mushrooms until their moisture has evaporated and they are browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sage, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.
In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter and olive oil over medium-low heat, then stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Cook and stir until the roux- or butter-flour mixture- is light brown in color, then season with the remaining teaspoon of the salt. Whisk in the hot stock, making sure to get out all the lumps. Increase the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the milk and nutmeg, bring back to a simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Slip the broccoli and linguine into the boiling water. Cook until linguine is just al dente and the broccoli is tender. Drain the broccoli and linguine well. Add the shredded chicken, linguine, and broccoli to the sauce, and stir until smooth and hot. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Mix together the remaining grated cheese and the bread crumbs, and sprinkle over the baking dish. Place the dish in oven, and bake until the top is browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.