This is one of those dishes that you really can’t go wrong with. I’ve been making variations of this since I first found the Bake Turkey Tetrazzini recipe in the Milk Calendar in 1994…yes, it’s been a regular in my rotation for over 20 years! I’ve made lots of tweaks over the years. I prefer chicken poached with celery, onion and a few spices. I keep the poaching water and use it for the pasta, too, to impart a bit more flavour.
Drying out the meat is easily done with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I’ve tried several methods, and I like poaching the chicken best, as it cooks gently and the end product is perfectly cooked chicken, juicy with subtle celery flavour.
A crowd pleaser for adults and kids alike, this is a timeless classic to be savoured again and again.
Creamy Chicken Mushroom Tetrazzini
Crisp topping, creamy sauce, savoury mushrooms, chicken, peas and pasta that will satisfy your cravings for a warm and homey dinner.
- 3 stalks celery 2 stalks snapped in half, 1 stalk chopped into 1/4" pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 whole clove
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 lb egg noodles (240 g)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 onions 1 quartered, 1 chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms (225 g) chopped
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp Maggi
- 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 of a 227g container)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp butter
In a medium to large pot, bring water to a boil. Add 2 broken celery sticks, Bay leaf, clove and one small onion, quartered (you can leave the onion skin on!). Add chicken breasts and keep at a low simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and cut into 1/2" pieces, reserve.
Remove onion pieces, celery and Bay leaf; top up the water and return to a boil. Add egg noodles. Cook according to the package instructions, leaving them a bit more to the al dente side (undercook by 1 min so the bite is just slightly chewy). Drain into a colander and reserve. Add a pat of butter and stir, to prevent the noodles sticking.
Melt 3 tbsp butter in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3–4 minutes until softened. Add garlic, celery and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are tender and most of liquid has evapourated.
Sprinkle with flour and cook 1–2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and Maggi; cook gently, stirring on medium heat until small bubbles start to form.
Add cream cheese in pieces to the skillet. Cook until cream cheese has melted and incorporated into the sauce.
Add reserved chicken and frozen peas, Stir to combine.
Combine Parmesan and breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Melt butter and add; stir to combine. Set aside until ready to assemble.
Preheat oven to 350°
Butter an 11x8" casserole dish (I prefer the slightly smaller size for deeper serving pieces and denser breadcrumbs on top, but a 9x13" dish will work, too). Add filling. Top with breadcrumb topping. Bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 30 minutes until top is browned and the saucy is bubbling deliciously. Serve.
You can make the casserole, breadcrumb topping and all, throw it in the freezer, and it hold up really well. Great to have on hand for one of those weeknights where you get home late for work and don't have the energy to make something!