HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
LUCY BURDETTE: okay, so this isn't technically a Thanksgiving recipe, it's a what-to-do-with-leftover-turkey recipe. (Should you be so lucky!) And everyone probably has their own version of this same dish.
I wanted to squeeze in some extra vegetables, so I added spinach along with the peas. There will be a million variations you can try--leave out what you don't like, adjust the cheese, replace some of the milk with extra gravy or low sodium chicken broth, add mushrooms, add sliced olives if salt isn't a worry. Once you've put it together, you can add a salad or other green vegetable and you've got a wonderful, comforting meal for your leftover guests:). It feeds a good group (6-8 with a salad) and can be made ahead of dinner time and refrigerated. Because this version of the recipe uses Swiss cheese mostly, with some Parmesan as topping, it ends up in the low-sodium range.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Half a cup chopped pimento (next time I'd use more!)
Four celery stalks, chopped
One onion, chopped or 3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups milk
1 cup leftover chicken or turkey
One package frozen peas
One and a half pounds good spaghetti or other pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
Season with a little salt and pepper if you think it's needed
3-4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9 x 13 pan well. Melt the butter and saute the celery, onions, and leeks for five minutes. Add in the flour and mix well, cooking for a few extra minutes on low heat. Slowly stir in the milk, whisking away lumps and allow the sauce to thicken. In a separate pot, cook the spaghetti--I like to break the strands in half. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
Mix the peas and spinach and pimentos and turkey into the cream sauce and simmer for a minute. Add the shredded cheese and stir until melted. Mix the creamed ingredients with waiting spaghetti.
Spread this into the prepared pan and top with Parmesan. Cover with foil. Bake until bubbly--about 40 minutes. Remove the foil for the final ten minutes to brown the top.
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