I used to make turkey Tetrazzini every year with Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey leftovers. Of course that was prior to going gluten-free and dairy-free and those Tetrazzini dishes included a lot of cream and probably three kinds of lovely cheese, along with gluten bread crumbs.
Our mornings are chilly now and that always gets me thinking about comfort food. I love fall and even winter (as long as it snows a lot! Yes you read that right…) and I look forward to baking pies, roasting things, and having my house smell like comfort food.
I don’t even know what was on television in the bedroom this morning while I was getting ready, but I heard the word Tetrazzini and thought, “YES!”. I had forgotten all about Tetrazzini! When you’re allergic to dairy you kind of get used to not thinking about cheesy, creamy, delightful, comfort food. Luckily, with more and more people becoming aware of food allergies and more people being tested, the whole food world is opening up with new products and new ideas for those of us that can’t eat traditional things.
I couldn’t remember how I used to make it exactly so I Googled Tetrazzini. Honestly, what did we ever do without the internet? After reading through several recipes it all started coming back to me and I realized that each recipe was different. Really different. So I just winged it and did what I thought sounded good. Giada De Laurentiis puts peas in hers. I thought that sounded good too and I could have sworn I had frozen baby peas, but no such luck. Her recipe also had about 30 ingredients. Seriously?
I just went with what I had on hand and it was fantastic. Total comfort food. So creamy and delicious, even I was shocked! Ahhh… the satisfaction of another traditional meal tackled and made into something that can fit my needs! Remember the movie Bruce Almighty where Jim Carey says, “It’s goooood”? For some reason that just popped into my head. Odd the things that rattle around in there…
I love having a good (or “gooood”) challenge. This recipe was challenging because I didn’t know if it would really work. That always bugs me a little because it’s not cheap to be dairy free and gluten-free. If it doesn’t turn out, it’s horrible to watch all of that $$$ going straight into the trash bin. Plus, dairy free cheese is a little weird sometimes. Occasionally it can make the texture of something really unappealing. Also, there’s a lot of steps. I was taking pictures in between steps and different parts of the recipe and not cleaning up, so my kitchen looked like a bomb went off. But as soon as I had everything in the oven, it all cleaned up quickly and believe me…all the steps and all the prep work to get it into the oven was worth every-single-bite.
Another recipe challenge overcome! Hmmm…what’s next?
Bacon Drippings, or olive oil if you don’t have drippings on hand
2 Chicken Breasts, cooked & cubed or shredded into large pieces
1 Medium Onion, diced
About 6 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
About 1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
About 2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
1 Head of Roasted Garlic
About 1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Seasoning
About 1 Cup of White Wine
3 Cups of Almond Milk
About 2 Cups Gluten Free Chicken Broth
1 Cup Diaya Cheddar Style Cheese
1/4 Cup Buffalo Mozzarella
1/4 Cup Vegan Parmesan
Dairy Free Butter
About 1/3 Cup Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour
Gluten Free Bread Crumbs, seasoned with oregano, basil, garlic powder, vegan parm, & kosher salt
About 12 oz. of Tinkyada Gluten Free Pasta, cooked aldente
1. In a large skillet melt about 2-4 Tablespoons of bacon drippings. Add chicken breasts and brown on both sides just until they are done. About 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
2. Add the chopped onion and mushrooms and saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to brown a bit. Add the thyme leaves. Add salt to taste.
3. Add the wine to de-glaze the pan and continue to saute over medium-high until the wine evaporates. Remove mixture to a large bowl. Set pan aside.
4. Dice or shred chicken and add to the bowl. Add the cheeses, roasted garlic, and Bragg’s.
5. Using the same pan, melt about 4 Tablespoons of dairy free butter. Add the flour and whisk together.
6. Add the almond milk and chicken broth whisking quickly as to not allow lumps. Cook over medium-high until the mixture begins to thicken. Mine became very thick so I added a bit more chicken broth. You want a medium thick consistency. Salt & pepper to taste, add the dried thyme, set aside.
7. Cook pasta according to directions. I removed mine 2 minutes prior to “done”. Drain.
8. Lightly coat a 9×11 baking dish with olive oil spray or dairy free butter.
9. Add the pasta and sauce to the large bowl of other ingredients. Toss well and pour into the baking dish.
10. Coat the top with gluten-free bread crumbs (see below), and dot with butter.
11. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until sauce bubbles. Serve with gluten-free french bread.
* I always toast (in the oven) and throw all uneaten or stale bread into a bag in my freezer. It makes it very easy whip up bread crumbs or croutons when I need them.
For bread crumbs I just add the toasted bread to a food processor. Add dried herbs, kosher salt, and just a bit of olive oil. Pulse until it turns into crumbs and the herbs are incorporated. For this recipe I added basil, oregano, garlic powder, kosher salt, vegan parmesan, and added a drizzle of olive oil at the end so it would all come together a bit.