Update (Jan 2017): We have been making this for a long time and have changed it up to reflect our tastes. I've found that adding a whole lot of garlic makes this the best dish ever. Some add mushrooms and peas, which could certainly be delicious, but I like serving it with a simple salad and calling it good. We also only make it using penne, as it holds the sauce a lot better than spaghetti.
Now that I am nearing the end of my pregnancy (37 weeks on Monday!), my complete aversion to all things chicken has subsided somewhat. I'm not saying that if you put a medium rare filet mignon and a piece of chicken in front of me, I'm not going to choose the succulent piece of beef, but at least the thought of chicken doesn't make me gag anymore.
This recipe definitely doesn't make me gag. In fact, I ate most of the leftovers, which says a lot in this house! My mom started making this only a few years ago and I've always loved it, so when I got the recipe from her a few weeks ago, I couldn't wait to make it. It came from my amazing Aunt Kathy, so you know it's good. It's also very simple. The recipe requires a few pans, so you will make a bit of a mess (or, if you're like me, a huge mess), but it is so worth it. This makes a lot, so you can easily feed a crowd or freeze the leftovers. That was my plan, you know getting ready for baby and all, but I ended up eating the leftovers. Oh well. It was worth it!
Aunt Kathy's Chicken Tetrazzini
*Adapted from my Aunt Kathy's recipe
1 pound penne (or pasta of your choice)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup flour
2 cups hot milk
2 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 heaping teaspoon salt
1/2 heaping teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup sherry
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2-3 cups diced cooked chicken (3 breasts)
1/2-2/3 cup parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
2/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 400º. Cook pasta until just before al dente. Add milk and chicken broth to a large microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup and microwave until warm. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute. Whisk in flour. Cook for a minute or two and then stir in hot milk and chicken broth. Cook and stir until thick. Add more milk or broth if the mixture becomes too thick.
Whisk in salt, pepper, nutmeg, sherry, and heavy cream (or milk, if you want to lighten it up a little bit) and remove from heat. One delicious thing we've started to do here is to add about 1/3 cup or more of parmesan to the sauce. Completely optional, but very yummy.
Mix the sauce, noodles, and chicken together.
Pour into a large greased baking dish.
Mix the parmesan or Romano cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle on top of the pasta.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and enjoy!