An Easy Sunday Supper – With Thanksgiving Leftovers

RANCHO LA ZACA , California – Everything about Sunday night supper should be easy.

I had a girls’ night (not a Sunday) at my NYC pad a few weeks ago, and you’ve never heard so much cackling. There was a bit of eating and, ahem, drinking, too, but the point was I wanted to focus on my friends and not fuss about the food. So I made the simplest menu imaginable and it was absolutely delicious.  I mean really.

Turkey Tetrazzini
The crusty bits on top make it beyond good. Some Turkey Tetrazzini recipes call for peas, as in the one pictured. Mine doesn't but you are welcome to add them.

It also seems like the perfect meal to end the action-packed Thanksgiving weekend – maybe my favorite weekend of the year, next to the one where we go off Daylight Savings Time.

So here’s the meal: Turkey Tetrazzini and sauteed collards or kale maybe sprinkled with pine nuts, or a green salad with fresh herbs. For something a little different, but simple, try roasting broccoli: Make a paste of salt and garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the broccoli. Roast for 15 minutes at 450, or until fork tender but still firm. Fab, and thank you Barbara Kafka, the Queen of Roasting. Do brownies or cookies for dessert. And you have my blessing to buy them.

Turkey Tetrazzini
Serves 8, about 20 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake, can be prepared ahead and freezes beautifully This is based on fellow Southerner the estimable James Villas's recipe and welcomes turkey, chicken, ham or even sausage, but the brilliance of it is the almonds and olives. Our amazing cook, Chef Stephanie Valentine, suggested using her leftover gravy in lieu of the flour/butter base for the sauce here: genius! So we used a cup of gravy, a cup of chicken broth, and a half-cup of cream or half-and-half. Skipped the egg yolk. I always opt for whole wheat or other whole grain pasta, but you can use the plain of course. Sprinkle the top with a little paprika before baking, if you like, just because. Named for the famed soprano Luisa Tetrazzini, the dish is claimed by some to have originated in the early 20th century in Charleston, South Carolina, mostly by people from Charleston. It is definitely a Southern favorite, though, and I grew up with it.
  1. 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  2. 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
  3. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  5. 1 cup chicken broth, room temp or warm
  6. 1 cup half-and-half
  7. 2 pounds cooked turkey
  8. 1 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
  9. 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  10. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  11. 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  12. 7 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  13. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  14. Paprika, if desired
  1. Cook the spaghetti 2 minutes less than the package directions call for. Rinse with cold water and drain in a colander. It will cook again in the oven, and you don't want it mushy.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350. Butter a 2- to 2 1/2-quart casserole.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small pan and saute mushrooms for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In a big, heavy pot over medium heat, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter and add flour and nutmeg. Stir and cook about a minute. Gradually add the broth, then the half-and-half, stirring and cooking about 5 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove from heat and add turkey, olives, almonds, cheese, and egg yolk, stirring well. Then add the spaghetti, and blend all together. (Confession: It's very gooshy so I use my hands; kinda fun.)
  5. Turn into buttered casserole, sprinkle with paprika if desired, and bake 25 to 30 minutes until crusty on top.
Frances Schultz

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