Luisa's Tetrazzini

Many years ago, I was responsible for preparing a luncheon meal for 40 women.  The budget was small, so I was looking for something delicious that was not costly.  The menu was scrumptious and I ended up spending just a little more than one dollar per person.  My salad was a frozen gelatin based fruit salad that tasted more like dessert than salad!  Dessert was was a browned coconut topping oatmeal cake.  The entrée … which I’d never made before but have made many times since … was Chicken Tetrazzini!

Touring in the United States

Turkey or Chicken Tetrazzini was named after an Italian opera singer, Luisa Tetrazzini, but was created in the United States.  The recipe was first published as one of her favorite foods in 1911.  However, Good Housekeeping published the first reference to the dish in 1908, indicating that it could be found at a restaurant on 42nd Street in New York City.   There are various stories about when and where it was actually created, but two stories are my favorites!  No matter the story, many people think this is an Italian recipe!

Luisa Tetrazzini was born in 1871 in Florence, Italy. She began singing at the age of three.  In the 1890s, she was a highly popular soprano with a concert career in Europe and in America.  Her popularity came from a voice that had an incredible range.  She brought everything she sang … to life!  She made her debut in the United States in San Francisco in 1905.  She loved San Francisco.  In a second story, Tetrazzini made her American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City in 1905.  This is why we have conflicting accounts of the origin of the recipe!

Recipes for Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini have been printed in cookbooks and magazines … and newspaper columns … for decades!  There are many varieties, but this is one of those dishes that I always used canned soup in.  Sometimes I make my own cream sauces and skip the soup, but not in this recipe!  The flavor is not the same without Cream of Chicken Soup!

This is a perfect recipe to make after Thanksgiving, when you have lots of left over turkey meat.  Today, rotisserie chickens from the supermarket are so popular and make such an easy weeknight meal, home cooks frequently have meat left over from that!  Use it in this recipe!

This is a good oven casserole or an afternoon crock pot dish!  It is easily doubled.  Here ya go!


Turkey Tetrazzini

2 cups of cooked chicken or turkey in bitesize chunks
8 ounces of uncooked spaghetti
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup
Fill the can half full of sour cream
Measure a whole can of half and half or whole milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
A handful of fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of celery flakes or celery seed
2 Tablespoons of roasted red bell pepper or pimento – optional

Break the spaghetti in half and cook it about halfway.  It will cook the rest of the way in the casserole or crock pot. 

Sauté the mushrooms in a couple pats of butter.  I like to drop the mushrooms is really hot butter so they brown quickly.

Mix all the ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Cover the casserole with foil for the first 30 minutes, then finish the casserole uncovered.  If you are preparing in a crockpot, cook on low for 3 hours.


Singing in the streets of San Francisco!  Her favorite American city.

This post is part of my 2021 foodie project!  Foods Named After Famous People!

I’ll shar with a couple blog parties, so look at my short list on my sidebar.




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