Chicken Tetrazzini is a dish that has chicken, butter cream, cheese and pasta. Although it does have Italian roots, it was developed in the United States. This dish was named after an Italian opera star, Luisa Tetrazzini. The recipe is believed to have been developed by a chef at a hotel that the opera star was frequently a guest. The original version of Tetrazzini can contain any meat that is not considered a red meat and contains almonds, mushrooms, vegetables and sherry. Those ingredients can be added to this recipe, but this particular recipe has been simplified to be easier  and quicker prepared at home.

Chicken Tetrazzini Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 pounds of chicken breast
  • 2 small onions or 1 large onion
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 16-ounces of spaghetti noodles
  • 1 cup of half and half or ½ cup of milk and ½ cup of cream
  • ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ½ cup of butter, divided (for best results use unsalted butter, do not substitute with margarine)
  • ½ cup of flour
  • Parmesan cheese (for best results use fresh shredded cheese and not the processed powdered type)

Directions for Chicken Tetrazzini:

  1. Place the chicken in a large cooking pot and cover with water. Chopped one of the small onions and place it in the water, along with the salt and pepper. Turn it on to boil until the chicken is done. Depending on the size of the chicken this should take from 30 to 45 minutes. Do not boil frozen chicken, thaw it first. Boiling frozen chicken can cause the middle to not cook properly.
  2. Strain the chicken broth and be sure to reserve 3 ½ cups of the broth for later use.
  3. Allow the chicken to cool enough to be handled. Then cut it into bite size pieces and cover for later use.
  4. Cook the spaghetti noodles are directed on the package.
  5. Spread the cooked spaghetti noodles in a greased 9X13 baking dish.
  6. Chop up the other onion and place it in a saucepan with the 1/4 cup of the butter and the lemon juice. Cook the contents over medium heat for about 5 minutes and pour it out into a bowl.
  7. In the same saucepan, melt the remaining butter. Once the butter is hot, stir in the flour, salt, nutmeg and paprika. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth. Then gradually stir in the chicken broth. Cook until it thickens. Next, add in the half and half, then the chicken chunks. Cook over low heat until the contents are completely heated.
  8. Add in grated carrots, sliced mushrooms and/or sliced almonds at this point if desired.
  9. Spoon the mixture over the cooked spaghetti in the baking dish.
  10. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan cheese. The top should be finely covered with the cheese.
  11. Bake the Chicken Tetrazzini for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The dish will be golden brown on the top and the sauce while have thickened when it is ready.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow it to slightly cool. Dish out into a bowl and serve hot. Goes great with fresh french or garlic bread and tossed salad.