Ever since that recipe for my Zucchini Lasagna, I’ve wanted to do a series on “Italian casseroles.” I mean, can you go wrong with a skinny-fied version of “baked ziti”?
I’ll answer that: no.
So, instead of subjecting you all to a week of casseroles to please myself, I’m just bringing you a casserole with an Italian name: tetrazzini.
It’s actually not Italian. It’s American. Woot-woot, America!
I did a little research and apparently, this casserole is named after an Italian opera singer and is rumored to have originated in San Francisco. Some also say it started in New York City.
I vote New York City, ‘cuz I’m an east coast gal.
Whenever I say I’m “Italian,” I usually say “Italian American.” That doesn’t make me any less in love with all things Italian. Us “Italians” tend to be proud of our roots. Actually, my grandfather can’t complete a sentence without giving an anectdote about Italy.
A typical conversation goes like this:
Me: “Pops, how’s the garden?”
Pops: “My tomatoes are doing well. You know, Ali, the Italians grew their tomatoes……”
Typical. I love him with all of my heart, because he taught me to love food and to “live to eat,” not “eat to live.” Him and my grandma, of course.
Sidebar – one of my recipes in my cookbook is going to be my grandfather’s meat sauce with my grandmother’s meatballs. You’re going to love it, as I have for 27 years.
Back to this recipe. A tetrazzini is basically a spaghetti casserole cooked with mushrooms, peas and typically turkey. It’s cooked in a gravy with a splash of white wine.
Well, we’re family-friendly here, so no wine. And of course, no butter or cream here. We’ve used coconut flour to create the gravy with a light chicken broth. Works like magic!
You’d think that this casserole would get runny and mushy, on account of the zucchini noodles. Au contraire! The proportions here are set so that you avoid any excess moisture: just creamy, deliciousness.
Don’t worry if your casserole appears dry when you put it into the oven – remember, the zucchini releases moisture.
The “breadcrumbs” on top are actually made of seasoned almond meal with chicken broth… which I learned how to do after reading this – gosh, you Paleo peeps are geniuses! It’s important that you season beforehand – it adds much-needed flavor to the almond meal.
Altogether, this chicken tetrazzini with zucchini noodles is going to be your new favorite weeknight casserole meal. Minus the love handles!
Do you like casserole recipes? Would you like to see more?
- 3 medium zucchinis, Blade C
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into strips/tenderloins
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2 tbsp chicken broth
- 1 tsp dried oregano flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried basil flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup diced red onion
- 1.5 cups sliced portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- 1 tsp thyme
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 3 tsp coconut flour
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Add in your chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside. Remove skillet from heat and remove chicken with tongs or a slotted spoon and cut into cubes, and set aside.
- While the chicken is cooking, place your zucchini noodles into a roughly 10 x 10 casserole or baking dish. Set aside.
- Also while the chicken is cooking, place your almond meal and basil, oregano, parsley, and garlic powder in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper generously and then toss to combine and then add in the chicken broth. Using your fingers, roll like a dough until all of the meal is formed into dough. Set aside.
- Place the skillet back over medium heat and add in the rest of the olive oil. Let heat and add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in the onions, thyme, mushrooms and peas. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes or until mushrooms wilt.
- Add in the chicken broth and let reduce for about 1 minute. Then, push vegetables to the side and add in the flour. Whisk immediately until creamy and then push the vegetables back in and stir to combine. Cook until the chicken broth is reduced.
- Pour the mixture evenly over the noodles, add in the cooked chicken and toss in the baking tray to combine. Once combined, evenly spread the mixture in the baking tray. If the mixture seems to try, evenly pour over 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
- Take the almond meal "dough" and crumble into breadcrumbs over the casserole, evenly until all of the "dough" is used.
- Sprinkle over the casserole with the fresh parsley and bake 20-25 minutes.
Inspired by http://ditchthewheat.com/paleo-chicken-tetrazzini/