My dad may not be a part of my physical life right now, but I still can't help but think of him often. I still remember is love for cooking. It wasn't just a necessity. He really enjoyed the stove.

When Keri and I would visit, he let me eat mushrooms sautéed in butter for breakfast. Only mushrooms, piled high on my plate. He also liked to grill: London broil with Potatoes O'brain: potatoes, onions, and bell peppers slices thin, put in a foil pack seasoned with salt and pepper, and dolloped with butter. I don't know if he invented Potatoes O'brian, but it was probably the best thing since sliced bread.

Then there was my dad's Chicken Tetrazinni. The ingredients are a blur. Did he used canned soups for the sauce? Mixed veggies out of the bag? Hmmm.... I just know that it was so good and comforty.

When I was tried to concoct something with my leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I thought of Turkey Tetrazinni. (The tupperwares of frozen turkey were invading our freezer.) It was just as creamy and delicious as I remember.

A homage to my dad:

Turkey Tetrazinni

adapted from Giada De Laurentis


· 5 tablespoons butter

· 1 cup of leftover turkey or chicken, shredded

· 1 teaspoons salt

· .5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

· 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced

· 1 large onion, finely chopped

· 5 cloves garlic, minced

· 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves

· 1/2 cup dry white wine

· 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

· 2 cups whole milk, room temperature

· 1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature

· 1 cup chicken broth

· 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

· 12 ounces linguine

· 1 cup of mixed frozen vegetables

· 1 cup grated Parmesan

· 1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely shred the turkey/chicken into bite-size pieces and put into a large bow. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Melt 2 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, mixed vegetables, to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.

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