Turkey Tetrazzini, with its creamy sauce with onions and mushrooms, is a delicious way to put leftover Thanksgiving turkey to use.  Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

The story goes that turkey Tetrazzini was named for Luisa Tetrazzini, a popular opera singer in the early 1900s. Except the original recipe called for chicken instead of the popular Thanksgiving staple.

Cooked turkey cut up and added to a creamy sauce, usually with onions and mushrooms, and baked on or mixed into cooked spaghetti. Some recipes include green pepper, peas or almonds; some use milk and more flour for the sauce; and others use cream and less flour. Some have sherry.

After using your leftovers for the turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce in them — but before turkey soup — a Tetrazzini deliciously absorbs a few cups of leftover turkey.

Suppose, though, in the dead of winter you have leftover chicken — make a Tetrazzini out of it. Mushrooms traditionally flavor the sauce, but you could skip them and use something like celery instead. Add peas? Why not. Change the recipe enough with whatever in your fridge is crying out to be used, and name the dish after yourself.

Because only two of us ate supper the night I made it, I halved the recipe, and used fettuccine instead of spaghetti because only a little pasta remained in the box. If you have a larger group you could use more pasta and just add a little more to the sauce. Someone once said, if you need to make a dish go farther, add more of whatever you have the most of.

If you have leftover Tetrazzini and can’t bear the thought of rewarming it, add chicken broth and make it into soup.

If you have leftover soup — well, never mind.

Turkey Tetrazzini

Yields 6-8 servings.

½ stick of butter

3-4 tablespoons flour

1 small onion, diced

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

3 cups broth, turkey or chicken

¼ cup sherry

1 cup cream

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

3-4 cups cooked turkey, mix of white and dark

Half-pound of spaghetti, cooked

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or deep casserole. Melt the butter, add the onions and mushrooms, and cook them until they are barely soft.

Whisk in the flour, cook until it is frothy. Add the broth, cream and sherry and cook until it is thickened.

Add the turkey. Heat all together and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Mix into or spread the turkey mushroom combination over spaghetti.

Grate a little additional parmesan on the top of the casserole, if you wish, before baking it. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...