Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Matter of Taste

I was never a fan of casseroles when I was young and my Mom never cooked them for us when we were little. Maybe lasagna on occasion. But when my aunt published her cookbook, I became a fan as did Momma. A Matter of Taste is one of my most beloved cookbooks because my wonderful aunt, Nina Tayloe, wrote it. Her recipes are foolproof. She owned a great little cafe in Memphis with the same name. Being in the kitchen with Nina is always a treat, or anywhere with Nina for that matter! 

Nina graciously allowed me to print the recipe to share. There are only a few books for sale on as it is out of print. If you can find it, it is a gem and a wonderful cookbook for dinner parties. Mom gave this to me the summer I graduated college. I asked Nina to sign it when she was in DC for a shower before our wedding. She's such a love!

This is the best go-to Baby Momma meal. Meaning, I give this and another of Nina's classics, Spaghetti Pie, to all my baby Momma and Daddy's. It freezes beautifully and is easy and sinfully delicious.

Refer to the recipe above, but like every recipe I don't stick to it 100%. I used a stick of unsalted butter as I needed to double the recipe.

Saute two containers of fresh mushrooms.

Dust the mushrooms with flour, about a third of a cup to make a roux. Make sure you cook the flour through. You don't want raw flour taste in your roux.

Add one cup of half and half at a time, and allow the sauce to thicken.

For a double batch I used four cups of half an half total. Not six. 

Add two cups of freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Boil two boxes of Angel Hair pasta or spaghetti. I like whole wheat pasta and cook it just two minutes shy of the box directions or al dente. Run cold water over it in the sink so it stops cooking.

Split the pasta between two aluminum pans. I think these were 9 x 9 inches.

Continue to cook on low until the sauce is thick.

It's done when it hugs a wooden spoon.

I bought a rotisserie chicken, breast only. Remove the skin and each breast and cut into pieces.

Use one breast per pan.

Divide the sauce between both pans.

And toss in the pan.

Making sure to mix all the noodles. Let cool and dust the top with Parmesan cheese.

Serve with salad and dust with a little nutmeg for kicks. I just realized what I need for Christmas! Recipe cards that say, From the kitchen of Stone Hill Farm...or some such nonesense with a golden fig seal! 

We dropped this Tetrazzini off for our buddies Susan and George, who had Jemma last week. She is adorable and I burst into tears when I met her! I give Susan such huge credit for a natural birth and no drugs. You are amazing!

After all of this heavy food and Thanksgiving, I am trying to cook healthier and made us sesame carrot ribbons

with snow peas

And Seared Sea Bass! It was perfection. 

Nina, thanks so much for letting me share your wonderful recipe. If you only knew how many children's mother's have eaten your Spaghetti Pie and Chicken Tetrazzini on the East Coast you would just crack up!  I made Nette this dish when we went down for her mother's funeral two years ago this week. It's one of those meals that just gets you through the roughest of times. Comfort food in every sense. Nicoletti, your tetrazzini is in the freezer waiting to be delivered. We can't wait to meet Connor. Macker and Lisey, St. Andrew will also get one at Christmas. Lot's of love to all the new babies and baby parents out there. We are so blessed to have so many of you in our life right now!


Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

Yum! I love casseroles (sadly). I'll have to make this! So special that you have your aunts recipes! For Christmas one time, I gathered recipes from all the women in my family and put the collection together for everybody. Love having family member's recipes!

Samma said...

I love Chicken Tetrazinni! Can't wait to try it!

Nelle Somerville said...

Samma, I completely channeled you in this post! I seriously hope you can find this cookbook! It is right up your alley.

Tiffiday :), I have always wanted to do that for our family. I know Nina's daughter-in-law gave her something similar. What a treat for your family to cherish!

Susan said...

The Chicken Tetrazzini was truly delicious. Thanks for sharing this special meal with us.
Love you!