Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini is certain to become a family favorite. It’s easy, cheesy, creamy and absolutely delicious. Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini is classic comfort food at its best.
Table of contents
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
What is Tetrazzini?
You might think that tetrazzini is an Italian dish. Although it’s named after the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini, it’s actually an American dish.
Most often tetrazzini is made with chicken and mushrooms in a creamy cheese sauce flavored with dry sherry. Any type of pasta can be used, but often the pasta of choice is spaghetti. It’s not unusual to see tetrazzini topped with cheese, almonds, breadcrumbs, etc.
Since I had some leftover ham that needed to be used, I opted to replace the chicken with ham and to add some green peas.
Ingredients for Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini
The ingredients that I used for this amazing one-dish wonder were petty much typical of tetrazzini.
The Pasta: For the pasta, I used spaghetti. In addition, I mixed the spaghetti with the other ingredients to produce a casserole. I could have also used penne, rotini, egg noodles, etc.
The Meat: As the name indicates, I used ham in this dish. I could have also used chicken or turkey.
The Vegetables: In addition to the typical mushrooms, I used onions, green peas and pimentos. The green peas made the casserole a one-dish wonder.
The Sauce: The sauce was a basic béchamel sauce made with butter, flour and milk, with the addition of a can of cream of mushroom soup.
The Cheeses: I used both extra sharp Cheddar cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese in this dish.
The Flavorings: I used dry sherry in this dish along with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
The Toppings: For the toppings of the tetrazzini, I chose freshly grated Parmesan cheese mixed with paprika, cheddar cheese and toasted sliced almonds. I could have also used breadcrumbs here.
Making the Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini
Time needed: 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Making the Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini is relatively straight-forward. Let me show you how!
- Initial Prep
As a first step, I cooked the spaghetti to the al dente stage according to the package directions. Once it was done, I drained the spaghetti and set it aside.
I also mixed together some of the grated Parmesan cheese and paprika to use as one of the toppings on the casserole. I set this aside as well.
- Sautéing the Onions and Mushrooms
I melted some butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Then, I added the onions and sautéd them for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, I increased the heat to medium-high and added the sliced mushrooms. I cooked the onion/mushroom mixture for about 3 minutes until the mushrooms started to brown.
- Making the Sauce
Once the onions and mushrooms were cooked, I sprinkled on some flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Then, I stirred to combine everything. Next, I added the milk and heated the mixture, stirring constantly until it was thick and bubbly.
- Adding Cheddar Cheese, Ham and Green Peas
Once the sauce was thick and bubbly, I added the shredded Cheddar cheese. I stirred the mixture until the cheese was melted.
After that, I added the ham and the green peas and stirred to combine everything.
- Completing the Sauce
To complete the sauce, I added the cream of mushroom soup, grated Parmesan cheese, sherry and pimentos. Then, I stirred to combine all of the ingredients.
- Adding the Spaghetti
Now that the sauce was complete, I added the cooked spaghetti. I tossed all of the ingredients together to ensure that things were well combined.
- Baking the Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini
I transferred the Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini to a casserole dish that I had sprayed with non-stick spray.
Then, I baked the tetrazzini uncovered in a preheated 350°F oven for about 25 minutes until it was heated through and bubbly.
- Finishing the Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini
After 25 minutes, I removed the tetrazzini from the oven. I decided to top it with diagonal rows of Parmesan cheese mixed with paprika, shredded Cheddar cheese and toasted almond slices.
After I added the toppings, I returned the tetrazzini to the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheeses were nicely melted.
The Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini was amazing. All of the flavors perfectly complimented each other for a spectacular one-dish wonder. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Either chicken or turkey can be used in place of the ham in this recipe. If the chicken or turkey is already cooked, just add it in place of the ham. If the chicken or turkey is not cooked, then cook it before cooking the onions and mushrooms.
You can really use any pasta you want in this dish. I prefer using either egg noodles or rotini in place of the spaghetti. However, angel hair pasta, linguini, penne, etc., could all be used in place of the spaghetti.
The sherry is added for flavor. However, you can certainly omit the sherry. You could also use white wine in place of the sherry.
The pimentos add both flavor and color to the dish. However, you can omit them without dramatically altering the taste of the final dish.
Some people prefer not to use cream of mushroom soup in their recipes. If you want to omit the cream of mushroom soup, increase the amount of flour by one tablespoon and the amount of milk by one cup. You could also add sour cream in place of the cream of mushroom soup.
I like to use several different toppings on this casserole diagonally arranged. This, however, is more for appearance than anything else. You could certainly top the casserole with just cheese, cheese and breadcrumbs, etc. Use whatever you prefer.
This tetrazzini freezes beautifully. Increase the cooking time by about 5 minutes if you bake it from the freezer.
This recipe makes a lot, so we always have leftovers which are just as good the next day. I like to heat the leftovers in the microwave for several minutes until heated through.
Other One-Dish Wonders
If you are a fan of one-dish wonders like this Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini, you should check out the following awesome recipes:
- Make Ahead Chicken Divan: Make Ahead Chicken Divan is the perfect dish to serve at a dinner party or anytime for that matter. Tender chicken and fresh broccoli are cooked in a luscious white sauce and topped with Parmesan cheese and paprika. It’s a breeze to put together and is absolutely delicious.
- Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole: This is my ultimate comfort food. It’s full of cheesy goodness, and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb topping.
- Make Ahead Cottage Pie: Cottage Pie is one-dish wonder that is the ultimate in comfort food. This traditional Irish dish can easily be made ahead of time and reheated. In fact, I generally have several Cottage Pies in my freezer for those evenings when I just want something easy and absolutely delicious.
- Eggplant Parmesan: Eggplant Parmesan is the ultimate in Italian comfort foods. It’s layered like lasagna. However, unlike lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan is meatless with crispy breaded eggplant slices taking the place of pasta. Those crispy eggplant slices are smothered in a simple marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
- One Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken: One Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken is the ultimate in simplicity and taste. Thinly sliced chicken breasts are pan-fried and finished in a creamy Italian style sauce that’s bursting with goodness and flavor.
- Chicken Cordon Bleu Crêpes: Chicken Cordon Bleu Crêpes are a variation on the traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu with crêpes stuffed with a cheesy mixture of chicken, ham and mushrooms. As a finishing touch, I topped the crêpes with additional creamy sauce and Parmesan cheese.
- Easy Cheesy Mexican Rice with Chicken: Easy Cheesy Mexican Rice with Chicken is just in time for Cinco de Mayo. It’s an amazing one-pot meal with an incredible blend of flavors and textures. It makes a lot, so be prepared for yummy leftovers!
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Cheesy Ham Tetrazzini
- 8 ounces spaghetti, cooked al dente according to package directions (See Tip 1)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped onion (1 small onion)
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 3/4 cups milk (See Tip 2)
- 2 cups chopped ham
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
- 10 3/4 ounce can Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup dry sherry (See Tip 3)
- 4 ounce jar of diced pimentos, drained
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted (See Tip 4)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish or 9 x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Combine 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and one teaspoon paprika in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Increase heat to medium-high and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently until mushrooms begin to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle on flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook for several minutes. Add milk; stir constantly until thick and bubbly. Add 3/4 cup of Cheddar cheese; stir until melted. Add ham and green peas; stir to combine.
- Add undiluted cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, sherry and drained pimentos. Stir to combine. Add cooked spaghetti; toss to combine.
- Transfer tetrazzini mixture to prepared baking dish. Bake uncovered in preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Remove from oven and top in diagnol rows of parmesan/paprika mixture, shredded cheddar cheese and toasted almonds. Return to oven for 10 additional minutes or until cheeses are melted.
- Yield: 8 servings. (See Tip 5)
Chula’s Expert Tips
- Feel free to use whatever pasta you have on hand. Just make sure to cook it to the al dente stage.
- For a richer dish, you can use half and half in place of the milk.
- The dry sherry adds a subtle flavor. If desired, you can either omit the sherry, or use white wine in place of it.
- To toast the almond slices, bake them at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully to ensure that they don’t burn.
- This makes excellent leftovers, and freezes beautifully.