Chicken Tetrazzini is one of those deliciously retro casseroles that has stood the test of time. We might not be making Wieneroni or Ham and Bananas Hollandaise anymore, but everyone’s mom still makes Chicken Tetrazzini. It’s a classic! A classic that is not horrifying!
In case you haven’t had Chicken Tetrazzini before, it’s a pasta-based casserole with a creamy sauce and chicken or turkey (in which case it’s called—wait for it!—Turkey Tetrazzini). Sometimes there are mushrooms and peas involved too. There’s a Parmesan-and-breadcrumbs topping, but not much in the way of seasoning. When making a vegetarian Chicken Tetrazzini, that lack of seasoning is an issue—without the chicken, this casserole is pretty bland. Sometimes making a recipe meatless is just a matter of switching the meat with some other ingredient, but this is not one of those recipes!
I replaced the chicken in tetrazzini with asparagus and upped the amount of mushrooms. To boost the flavor, I also added leeks and garlic. Then I added my secret weapon—smoked paprika! It’s that little je ne sais quoi that you need in a recipe like this. I also used whole wheat farfalle instead of the more traditional spaghetti because I’m not a big spaghetti fan. It’s unwieldy! And farfalle looks like a jaunty little bow tie.
This Vegetable Tetrazzini is creamy, delicious vegetarian comfort food—it’s everything you love about Chicken Tetrazzini, minus the chicken. Plus vegetables!
A vegetarian version of tetrazzini made with leeks, mushrooms, and asparagus. Adapted from Simply Recipes' Turkey Tetrazzini.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound sliced white or cremini mushrooms
- 1 large leek, rinsed well and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup shredded Fontina cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 10 ounces whole wheat farfalle pasta, cooked al dente according to package instructions
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (discard tough ends)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once it's melted, add the mushrooms, leek, and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and the liquid has almost evaporated, 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring constantly.
- Pour the broth, milk, wine, and cream into the Dutch oven. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the Fontina, half of the Parmesan, and the smoked paprika. Add the cooked farfalle and asparagus to the Dutch oven; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spray a large casserole dish with an oil mister. Pour the tetrazzini mixture into the dish and top with the panko and remaining parmesan cheese. Spray the top with additional oil and place the casserole in the oven uncovered. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Let the casserole cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with parsley before serving.