Ham Tetrazzini is a casserole made with pasta and ham in a creamy sauce. “Tetrazzini” is a type of casserole that originated in the United States and is named after the Italian Opera Star, Luisa Tetrazzini. Chicken, Turkey and Ham Tetrazzini are all well known dishes in the US, but you will rarely find it in restaurants. Most people consider it a comfort food that can be found in kitchens across the US.
Tetrazzini is often eaten around holidays in the US because Americans serve large cuts of meat during family gatherings such as baked ham or roasted turkey. There are often leftovers that people have to eat for days, so cooks are always looking for creative ways to serve up those leftovers. Tetrazzini is a great way to enjoy those leftovers – especially with children. It’s more of a pasta dish than a meat dish, it’s easy to prepare, it makes enough to serve a whole family (a pot makes 8 generous portions) and you can customize the dish to use whatever ingredients you have on hand (ham, chicken turkey and even tuna are popular meats to use along with any type of pasta). It’s no wonder that just about every American has tried Tetrazzini in one form or another.
Another interesting thing is that unlike other creamy dishes, Ham Tetrazzini contains no milk or cream. The sauce is made with flour and butter that are sautéed together with mushrooms and onions. Chicken consommé is slowly stirred in which thickens the consommé so it has a creamy consistency. The other ingredients are then stirred in and the entire mixture is added to a casserole dish and baked in a 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Top it off with shredded cheese before cooking and you have a child friendly version as well.
Give this “American Classic” a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.