Last week I shared my experience making pierogies for the first time. This week I’m posting about another food that Brian exposed me to: tetrazzini. He grew up with it and has been asking me to make it again for the past few weeks. I realize that this blog has been making it appear lately that I didn’t know about any food prior to meeting Brian, but I promise, that’s not the case. I’ll have to post a recipe for something from my childhood in the near future and even things out. For those as in the dark as I was, tetrazzini is a pasta and cream sauce casserole. The version I’ve been making for the past few years, adapted from Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian, uses vegetables but other (probably more traditional) recipes use chicken or turkey. In fact, Cassie just posted a recipe for chicken tetrazzini that sounds amazing.
This tetrazzini recipe is not the fanciest or the healthiest, but it is as simple as I can get it and some days that’s just what I need. And it meets Brian’s standards, so it must be good. The vegetables can be frozen or fresh; this time around I used a mixed bag of peas, carrots, lima beans, green beans and corn. I’ve found that small pieces of vegetables work best. You may need to chop up frozen broccoli or cauliflower. The pasta gets cooked, then set aside, and then that same pot is used to make the creamy sauce and for mixing the ingredients. After that, the delicious mixture is put in a casserole dish and baked. That’s all it takes; I didn’t even need a knife. After baking this batch, Brian transferred it to 8 storage containers, one of which will be added to our lunch each day this week. We’ve really been enjoying having a hot, filling meal to help us get our busy days at school.
- 1 box 13.25 oz whole wheat spaghetti
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups half and half
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning
- salt to taste
- 3 cups mixed vegetables fresh or frozen*
- 2 2 1/4 oz sliced black olives, drained
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- *frozen vegetables do not need to be defrosted before use in this recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large pot (I used a 6 quart), boil the water for the pasta. Meanwhile, gather and measure the rest of your ingredients.
- When the water boils, add the pasta to the pot and following the cooking instructions on the box.
- After the spaghetti has finished cooking, drain it and rinse briefly with cold water to prevent it from sticking and continuing to cook. Set aside.
- In the same large pot, combine the half and half, broth, water and butter. Cook until the butter is completely melted. Add the flour and Italian Seasoning and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute while continuing to stir. Taste the sauce and add salt, if needed.
- To the cream sauce, add the 3 cups of vegetables, olives and the spaghetti. Stir to combine.
- Carefully pour the tetrazzini from the pot into an ungreased 9 x 13" (3 quart) baking dish. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly across the top of the casserole.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese melted.
- Remove the vegetable tetrazzini from the oven. Allow to cool, then serve and enjoy.