I'm going to begin today by defining for you what Italians mean by a "heavy fork".
A heavy fork is a person who likes to eat a lot of food. I'm not talking about every day, all the time. I'm talking about sitting down, hungry, like for Sunday dinner. A heavy fork doesn't do well in one of those restaurants where they charge you two months of lunch for a steak the size of your palm with a curly leaf on top and stuff squiggled on the plate underneath. Heavy forks like old style restaurants where they fill your plate. Bonus points if the menu is written on a chalkboard and/or they don't accept credit cards.
So a heavy fork is not necessarily a fat person. Many are quite thin. They can exist for weeks on salads and sardines and buttered toast. Maybe a little zuppa. My husband, Anthony, is one of these people. Some people think that I am, too, but they don't know the size of my hips because I'm really good at hiding them.
I'm saying all this because today I'm doing something with leftover turkey. Turkey tetrazzini. And to understand the recipe, you also need to understand the following:
- We are heavy forks;
- Turkey tetrazzini tastes really, really good;
- When something tastes good we want to eat lots of it.
This recipe, like many of mine, comes from The Joy of Cooking. Sort of. The problem with recipes from The Joy of Cooking is that the authors are neither Italian nor (apparently) heavy forks. Their recipes are generally for 4 to 6 Puritans, which will generally satisfy 2 Italians. Maybe. So, most of the time, I have to translate. The beautiful thing is that it works.
Turkey tetrazzini is maybe the best thing you can do with your leftover turkey. Because it is made with a lot of cream sauce, it's the perfect thing to make with dried-out white meat. This is an easy recipe, but not fast, so allow yourself some time. Take the opportunity to finish off any leftover wine from the holiday.
Wash and slice a big package of mushrooms. I wash my mushrooms. Some people don't. If you don't wash your mushrooms, please don't tell me about it. Saute the mushrooms in olive oil and a little butter. Cook a pound of pasta. I like "little" pasta for the tetrazzini because then you can serve it with a big spoon and it doesn't slide all over the place, but a lot of people use angel hair. Today I used "mini-farfalle" (little butterflies). Just as cute as it sounds.
While you're waiting for the pasta water to boil, make the sauce. (It takes a little time, sorry. Start on the wine.) To make the sauce, melt a stick of butter in a deep pot. Add 8 tablespoons of flour. Cook and stir, over medium heat, until smooth and bubble. Gradually add 4 cups of chick broth (canned is fine, or bouillon), stirring constantly and bringing to a boil after each addition. It will start to get thick. After you finish adding the chicken broth, salt and pepper to taste. Add two cups of heated cream or half-and-half. Bring to a simmer.
Drain the pasta and add the mushrooms to it. Cut up some leftover turkey into small pieces and add it to the pasta and mushrooms. Pour the hot sauce over everything and mix well.
Now, pour the whole thing into a large, buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with parmigiano or romano cheese, or whatever you got. Bake in a 375 degree over until the cheese starts to brown.
And don't worry about the calories. You won't be eating many more of them until Christmas Eve.