Vegetarian tetrazzini loaded with cauliflower and poblano peppers, and switches out traditional sour cream or heavy cream for yogurt.
I hope all of you had memorable holidays, as we wrap it all up with a huge football weekend (go Steelers!!). My stepson and 3 of his 5 kids came to visit us in Tahoe for several days of fun. Skiing, sledding, bowling, go-kart racing, Star Wars VII, and playing games were all on the menu, along with celebrating two of my grandsons’ birthdays.
Before I know it they’ll be sulky teenagers, way too cool to spend time with me. So I take as much advantage of these years as I can.
One of their favorite dinners is chicken tetrazzini. It’s the tetrazzini their dad grew up with, and he now he makes it for them. I made it over the holidays for them, and admit it was really good. But since I’m crazy for cauliflower (the one white food we should all be eating lots of), I wanted to make a vegetarian version. I hope you enjoy it.
Make this ahead and keep covered in the refrigerator for up to several days. Just re-warm in a 350˚F oven before serving.
I made this at around 7000 feet since we live in the mountains. At sea level, the baking time may be 5 minutes less, and the tetrazzini will be a little more saucy. Either way, it’s now one of my favorite dishes. As a little twist on it, add curry powder.
Tips for Omnivores at the Table:
Add roasted chicken + 50% additional liquid sauce. The sauce includes the milk, yogurt, broth, garlic paste, herb paste, butter, and flour.
Cauliflower Tetrazzini with Poblano Peppers
- 1 head cauliflower, 4 cups cut up
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 - 2 poblano peppers, blistered, peeled and seeded (depending on how much heat you prefer)
- 2 small-medium leeks diced, white and light green parts (about 1/2 cup when cooked)
- ½ pound uncooked spaghetti
- ¾ cup low-fat milk
- ¾ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- ½ cup vegetable broth or stock
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste, or minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Italian Herbs Paste, or finely chopped basil or oregano
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400˚F and butter one large baking dish. Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.
- Cut the head of cauliflower into bite sized pieces (I separate out the florets and halve or quarter them depending on their size). Toss in 1 Tbsp olive oil, paprika, and 1/2 tsp salt. Arrange on the first baking sheet along with the poblano peppers, and roast until the cauliflower pieces are tender, and the peppers are blistered and charred, about 20 minutes.
- Wash and slice the leeks into 3" X 1/2" strips. Toss in the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Arrange them on the second baking sheet and roast until very tender and some edges begin to crisp, about 30 minutes. It's fine to have the leek strips overlapping and even laying on top of each other. Both baking sheets can be in the oven at the same time, with the leeks on a shelf lower than the cauliflower and peppers.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Break the spaghetti pasta into thirds (around 3” long) and cook according to the directions on the box.
- Whisk the milk, yogurt, broth, garlic and herb pastes together in a medium bowl. Peel off the top papery skin from the charred poblano peppers, remove the seeds, and coarsely chop. Add the cauliflower, chopped peppers, and leeks to the milk and yogurt mixture.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt 3 Tbsp of the butter. When the butter is melted and sizzling, whisk in the flour to form a loose paste. Add the milk-cauliflower mixture to the pot and stir well. Bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce. Stir in the pasta and pour into the baking dish.
- Toss the breadcrumbs and cheese together and spread over the casserole. Dot with the remaining Tbsp butter. Lower the oven temperature to 350˚F, and bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly.
- Serve warm with a hunk of crusty butter and green salad!