My favorite turkey leftover recipe in the world! Turkey Tetrazzini is NOT Italian. Yes, it was invented by the famous soprano Luisa Tetrazzini. She asked for creamed turkey over spaghetti with Parmeggiano Reggiano, and she got it! Like a true diva, she lived at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where the chef prepared all her meals. Madame Tetrazzini was 100% Italian, and a feisty lady too! Read a bit of her story below.
This holiday, I am CRAVING Turkey Tetrazzini, and I wanted it to be Paleo, meaning no pasta, no dairy, and wild! The farmer’s market had an organic pasture-raised turkey. For the pasta, I sliced zucchini on a mandoline like spaghetti. For the “cheese” sauce, I blended coconut milk with a Vegan Parmesan cheese mixture. It turned out fantastic! My guests described it as “delicious comfort food” with a rich and creamy, cheese flavor. It looked beautiful and even browned on the top!
If you have just entered the world of Paleo food, or have just been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, celiac disease, diabetes, or you have a limited diet, this dish can give your taste buds a new start. It’s easy to make, and you can even try it in secret. It tastes so delicious, no one will notice that it is non-traditional unless you tell them. I peeled the zucchini to look more like pasta, but peeling is optional. The peels are high in nutrition, and I’ll leave them in next time. This dish can be also be made with chicken. Makes one 9 x 13-inch pan, enough to feed 8 persons. Scroll down to read “The Story of Turkey Tetrazzini”.
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced in half moons
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups broccoli, cut in small florets
- 2 cans thick coconut milk, such as Native Forest brand
- 1 1/2 lemons, peeled, sliced and seeded
- 1 1/4 cups coconut butter
- 9 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unprocessed salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- 3 eggs, pasture-raised, organic
- 3/4 teaspoon Vitamin C crystals (optional, for a sharp cheese taste)
- 1 carrot, grated (optional for a golden yellow cheese color)
- 2 pounds organic free-range turkey, cooked, cut in 1/2 inch cubes (4 cups)
- Chopped parsley (Sliced almonds are optional, omit if allergic to tree-nuts)
- Peel the zucchini if you choose.
- Using a mandoline slicer, a spiralizer, or a julienne peeler, slice zucchini into thin 1/8 inch strips like spaghetti. (If you don’t have a slicer, no problem - pasta comes in many shapes. Use a knife to cut them into 1/4-inch strips and into sections 1-inch long. This makes oblong cubes the size of penne or macaroni.)
- Place the sliced zucchini in a steamer inside a saucepan with 1/2 cup water in the bottom of the pan. Bring water to a boil, cover the pan, and turn it down to simmer for 5 minutes. Steam the zucchini until they begin to soften. It is a good idea to move them around gently with a spoon or with your hands so they steam evenly. Steam very briefly, and do not overcook or they’ll turn into mush.
- In a large skillet heat olive oil. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add carrot and celery. Saute a few more minutes until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms and saute 3 minutes. Add broccoli last and heat lightly. Remove vegetables from the heat, cover and set aside.
- In any blender, add coconut milk, lemon, coconut butter, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic, nutmeg, arrowroot powder and eggs. Add Vitamin C crystals and grated carrot, if using. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with coconut oil or olive oil. Put the steamed zucchini in the bottom and spread evenly. Add the vegetables and spread evenly. Distribute the turkey over the top. Now pour the sauce over everything. Stir the mixture to distribute the sauce throughout.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Garnish with sliced almonds or chopped parsley and enjoy!
The Story of Turkey Tetrazzini
Turkey Tetrazzini is an American dish named after Italian opera star, Luisa Tetrazzini. Madame Tetrazzini lived in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, where the chef named it after her in 1910. (Do all sopranos live in hotels?) Born in Florence, Italy, Tetrazzini’s voice was known for its phenomenal flexibility, thrust and thrilling tone. Her amazing vocal technique enabled her to surmount any vocal challenge with almost insolent ease. She enjoyed a tremendously successful career in Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, for a while. Listen to Tetrazzini sing now.
Mme. Tetrazzini was so popular with her fans that she was tormented by jealous rivals, and often had legal difficulties. When she was blocked from singing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, she held a press conference and declared, “I will sing in San Francisco if I have to sing there in the streets, for I know the streets of San Francisco are free.” And she did it! In 1904, she moved to San Francisco, but was again plagued with jealous legal battles. On Christmas Eve in 1910, at Market and Kearney Plaza in San Francisco, Mme. Tetrazzini climbed a stage platform in a sparkling white gown, surrounded by a throng of an estimated three-hundred thousand San Franciscans, and sang in the streets for the people she loved.
Tetrazzini (upper right) sings for a crowd of 300,000 in San Francisco, Christmas Eve, 1910.