TURKEY PLESHETTINI

POST-THANKSGIVING MY MOTHER ALWAYS MADE TURKEY TETRAZZINI, A NOODLE CASSEROLE CREATED AROUND 1909 BY ERNEST ARBOGAST, CHEF AT THE PALACE HOTEL IN SAN FRANCISCO, IN HONOR OF LUISA TETRAZZINI, THE BELOVED OPERA STAR WHO WAS MAKING HER AMERICAN DEBUT AS GILDA IN RIGOLETTO. IT'S A GREAT WAY TO USE UP ALL THAT LEFT OVER TURKEY, WHICH GROWS DRIER AND LESS APPETIZING BY THE DAY.  YOU MAKE A CREAMY SAUCE, FOLD IT IN WITH PRE-COOKED PASTA AND, TOPPED WITH CHEESE AND BREADCRUMBS, FINISH IT IN THE OVEN.  I COULDN'T FIND A RECIPE I LIKED SO I MADE ONE UP AS I WENT ALONG. IT WAS A PALPABLE HIT.  AND IF NOT AN ORIGINAL, REVISED ENOUGH TO DUB IT TURKEY PLESHETTINI.  MANGIARE!   

KEY

 3 cups LEFT-OVER TURKEY
 1 BROWN ONION
 1 SMALL FENNEL BULB OR 4 CELERY STALKS
 4 SCALLIONS
 2 cups TURKEY OR CHICKEN STOCK
 1 cup CREME FRAÎCHE
 1 cup FONTINA OR RACLETTE
 PARMESAN CHEESE
 BREADCRUMBS
 FRESH CHIVES AND/OR TARRAGON AND PARSLEY
 ½ lb EGG NOODLES
1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 425ø

PUT A LARGE POT OF WATER TO BOIL. SALT GENEROUSLY. ADD THE NOODLES AND COOK TILL THEY ARE A MINUTE OR TWO SHORT OF AL DENTE. DRAIN AND SET ASIDE.

MEANWHILE, REMOVE AROUND 3 CUPS OF TURKEY MEAT FROM THE CARCASS.

TRIM AND PEEL THE ONION. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN IN QUARTERS. SLICE CROSSWISE INTO 1/4" QUARTER MOONS.

PEEL OFF THE TOUGH OUTER SKIN FROM THE FENNEL BULB. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. TRIM OUT THE WEDGE OF ROOT. CUT CROSSWISE INTO 1/4" HALF MOONS.

MELT A SPLASH OF VEGETABLE OIL AND 1 TBSP OF BUTTER IN AN AU GRATIN DISH OVER MEDIUM HEAT.

REDUCE THE HEAT TO LOW AND ADD THE ONIONS AND FENNEL, STIRRING FREQUENTLY TILL THEY ARE GOLDEN.

MEANWHILE, TRIM AND CHOP THE SCALLIONS INTO 1/2" PIECES. ADD TO THE AU GRATIN DISH AND COOK, STIRRING FREQUENTLY TILL THEY WILT BUT DO NOT BROWN.

REMOVE THE VEGETABLES WITH A SLOTTED SPOON AND RESERVE.

BRING THE STOCK TO A SIMMER IN A SMALL SAUCEPAN.

MELT 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER IN THE AU GRATIN DISH. WHEN THE FOAM SUBSIDES, WHISK IN 2 TBSPS OF FLOUR. YOU'VE MADE A ROUX. CONTINUE STIRRING UNTIL THE ROUX TURNS GOLDEN BROWN.

OFF THE HEAT, STIR IN 2 CUPS OF THE STOCK. WHISK VIGOROUSLY, THEN RETURN TO A LOW HEAT, STIRRING WITH THE WHISK TILL THE MIXTURE THICKENS.

STIR IN A CUP OF CRÊME FRAÎCHE AND CONTINUE STIRRING TILL IT INCORPORATES IN WITH THE ROUX.
TURN OFF THE HEAT.

FOLD IN THE COOKED VEGETABLES, TURKEY AND NOODLES.

GRATE ABOUT A CUP OF EITHER FONTINA OR RACLETTE. GRATE IN ABOUT A 1/3 CUP OF PARMESAN. FOLD IN WITH THE TURKEY.

THE DISH SHOULD BE MOIST, SLIGHTLY LIQUIDY. IF IT'S NOT, ADD A FEW MORE TBSPS OF STOCK.

SCATTER BREADCRUMBS AND GRATED PARMESAN ON TOP AND PLACE IN THE OVEN.

COOK ABOUT 15 MINUTES, THEN TURN THE OVEN TO BROIL AND FINISH THE DISH UNDER THE BROILER, SO THE NOODLES ON TOP GET SLIGHTLY BROWNED.

SCATTER WITH FRESH HERBS JUST BEFORE SERVING.

SERVES 6.

NOTE: I DIDN'T HAVE ANY MUSHROOMS, BUT SLICED, SAUTÉED CRIMINI MUSHROOMS WOULD BE A NICE ADDITION TO THE PLESHETTINI.

Ingredients

 3 cups LEFT-OVER TURKEY
 1 BROWN ONION
 1 SMALL FENNEL BULB OR 4 CELERY STALKS
 4 SCALLIONS
 2 cups TURKEY OR CHICKEN STOCK
 1 cup CREME FRAÎCHE
 1 cup FONTINA OR RACLETTE
 PARMESAN CHEESE
 BREADCRUMBS
 FRESH CHIVES AND/OR TARRAGON AND PARSLEY
 ½ lb EGG NOODLES

Directions

1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 425ø

PUT A LARGE POT OF WATER TO BOIL. SALT GENEROUSLY. ADD THE NOODLES AND COOK TILL THEY ARE A MINUTE OR TWO SHORT OF AL DENTE. DRAIN AND SET ASIDE.

MEANWHILE, REMOVE AROUND 3 CUPS OF TURKEY MEAT FROM THE CARCASS.

TRIM AND PEEL THE ONION. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF, THEN IN QUARTERS. SLICE CROSSWISE INTO 1/4" QUARTER MOONS.

PEEL OFF THE TOUGH OUTER SKIN FROM THE FENNEL BULB. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. TRIM OUT THE WEDGE OF ROOT. CUT CROSSWISE INTO 1/4" HALF MOONS.

MELT A SPLASH OF VEGETABLE OIL AND 1 TBSP OF BUTTER IN AN AU GRATIN DISH OVER MEDIUM HEAT.

REDUCE THE HEAT TO LOW AND ADD THE ONIONS AND FENNEL, STIRRING FREQUENTLY TILL THEY ARE GOLDEN.

MEANWHILE, TRIM AND CHOP THE SCALLIONS INTO 1/2" PIECES. ADD TO THE AU GRATIN DISH AND COOK, STIRRING FREQUENTLY TILL THEY WILT BUT DO NOT BROWN.

REMOVE THE VEGETABLES WITH A SLOTTED SPOON AND RESERVE.

BRING THE STOCK TO A SIMMER IN A SMALL SAUCEPAN.

MELT 2 TBSPS OF BUTTER IN THE AU GRATIN DISH. WHEN THE FOAM SUBSIDES, WHISK IN 2 TBSPS OF FLOUR. YOU'VE MADE A ROUX. CONTINUE STIRRING UNTIL THE ROUX TURNS GOLDEN BROWN.

OFF THE HEAT, STIR IN 2 CUPS OF THE STOCK. WHISK VIGOROUSLY, THEN RETURN TO A LOW HEAT, STIRRING WITH THE WHISK TILL THE MIXTURE THICKENS.

STIR IN A CUP OF CRÊME FRAÎCHE AND CONTINUE STIRRING TILL IT INCORPORATES IN WITH THE ROUX.
TURN OFF THE HEAT.

FOLD IN THE COOKED VEGETABLES, TURKEY AND NOODLES.

GRATE ABOUT A CUP OF EITHER FONTINA OR RACLETTE. GRATE IN ABOUT A 1/3 CUP OF PARMESAN. FOLD IN WITH THE TURKEY.

THE DISH SHOULD BE MOIST, SLIGHTLY LIQUIDY. IF IT'S NOT, ADD A FEW MORE TBSPS OF STOCK.

SCATTER BREADCRUMBS AND GRATED PARMESAN ON TOP AND PLACE IN THE OVEN.

COOK ABOUT 15 MINUTES, THEN TURN THE OVEN TO BROIL AND FINISH THE DISH UNDER THE BROILER, SO THE NOODLES ON TOP GET SLIGHTLY BROWNED.

SCATTER WITH FRESH HERBS JUST BEFORE SERVING.

SERVES 6.

NOTE: I DIDN'T HAVE ANY MUSHROOMS, BUT SLICED, SAUTÉED CRIMINI MUSHROOMS WOULD BE A NICE ADDITION TO THE PLESHETTINI.

TURKEY PLESHETTINI
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