Before last week, I had never made and definitely never eaten Chicken Tetrazzini. While discussing dinner ideas for the week, this recipe was requested and my first thought was, “that sounds like a 70’s pseudo-Italian dish”. Turns out I wasn’t completely wrong but when I realized the dish consisted of juicy chicken, mushrooms, and linguini in a creamy white wine sauce, I knew I had to find out a bit more about it. I think it’s safe to say that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship as Chicken Tetrazzini is creamy, carb-y goodness. If you’ve never tried it or only had a version made with canned condensed soup, I implore you to read on and try out this recipe.
So while I wasn’t wrong about this being a pseudo-Italian dish, I was wrong about chicken tetrazzini coming to us from the 1970’s. Named after an Italian opera star, this recipe actually dates from the early 1900’s but somewhere along the line people started using condensed soup to create the creamy sauce which totally gives it an unfair 70’s vibe. While this is certainly time-saving, I think you lose great flavor and introduce a gloppy texture when you use the soups. It’s super easy to make your own béchamel sauce and barely takes more time than opening up all of those cans. Cheaper too! The result is a super creamy sauce that doesn’t come off as heavy thanks to the white wine. The linguine, chicken, and mushrooms soak up this amazing sauce while the dish is in the oven and is just bursting with flavor.
There are a lot of versions of chicken tetrazzini out there so you may have had something similar to this but not exactly like it. Some people use turkey instead of chicken and spaghetti noodles are often subbed for the linguine. Today we’re using chicken because I find it easy to cook and I always have it on hand and linguine because I said so. But mostly because I like the extra heft of the linguine noodle to hold up to the cream sauce.
This chicken tetrazzini recipe does involve cooking a few individual ingredients before combining together but I find that the chicken can be in the oven while you are prepping the pasta and mushrooms. You could even make those three components ahead of time if you wanted or use leftover chicken, just be sure to make the cream sauce right before you plan to throw everything in to the oven.
- 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast-about 3 large breasts
- 16oz linguine noodles
- 1lb baby portobello or crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 T unsalted butter
- ⅓ C all-purpose flour
- 1 C chicken broth, low sodium preferred
- 1 C dry white wine such as Chardonnay
- 1½ C half and half
- ¾ C chopped parsley, divided
- 2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
- Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
- Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and place in baking pan
- Cook chicken for ~18 minutes or until just barely done (will continue to cook in the casserole)
- Remove chicken from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before chopping into 1-inch cubes and setting aside
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until just barely al dente
- Drain the pasta and set aside
- Over medium-high heat, add 3T oil and sliced mushrooms to a large pan and saute for about 3 minutes or until mushrooms have released some of their juices
- Add diced onions and allow to cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes
- Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
- Remove mushroom mixture from the pan and set aside
- In the same pan, melt 4T of butter and whisk in ⅓C flour. Allow to cook about 1 minute until lightly browned
- Add 1 C chicken broth and 1 C wine and whisk until smooth
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, starting with about ½t of each
- Add 1½ C half and half and allow to simmer for 2 minutes
- Add chicken, mushroom mixture, and pasta back to the pan with the cream sauce and add in ½ C chopped parsley. Mix to distribute ingredients evenly.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed
- Transfer mixture to a casserole dish, sprinkle 2C mozzarella cheese on top of casserole, and cover with foil or lid
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil or lid, return to oven, and bake an additional 10 minutes
- Remove from oven and garnish with remaining chopped parsley
*Feel free to sub leftover turkey breast for the chicken or spaghetti noodles for the linguine noodles.
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