Waste nothing with this leftover turkey tagliatelle recipe…


This baked tagliatelle recipe was taught to me by Carole Mazzella – an American living in Rapallo, Italy – and it’s perfect for using up leftover turkey from Christmas or thanksgiving. (You can make this turkey pasta year-round too – I explain how to cook fresh turkey breast or legs below.) easy tagliatelle recipe

How easy is it?

If you have your turkey leftovers ready, there are only 2 real cooking tasks in this recipe – making (stirring) the sauce, and frying the mushrooms!

After that, it’s just a case of mixing, baking and… eating.

(Also check out this cooking leftovers page.)

Serves 4-6

Ingredients: (For a printable PDF shopping list click here, or right-click this link and choose ‘Save target/link as’ to save the list for later.)


1 litre/33 fluid ounces of semi-skimmed milk

120g/4.2oz butter

300-350g/10.5-12oz cooked turkey leftovers (the same amount of uncooked turkey breast/leg if cooking from fresh)

Small tub/sachet of dried breadcrumbs

500g/17.5oz packet (or fresh) tagliatelle

Half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg (buy 1 nutmeg)

60g/2.1oz all-purpose/plain flour

100g/3.5oz chanterelle mushrooms (or any button or large flat mushrooms you prefer)

2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese


Large deep oven dish or lasagna pan

Deep pan (for pasta)

2nd pan/skillet (ideally ceramic)

Cheese grater

Frying pan


STEP 1 – First we’ll quickly prep our ingredients:

– Using the cheesegrater grate half, or a full, teaspoon of nutmeg.

– Wash the grater then grate 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.

– Chop the butter into small 1cm cubes.

– Use your hands or a paper towel to wipe the mushrooms.

Tip: Never wash mushrooms – they are highly absorbent and therefore go soggy. Not good.

Chop these cleaned ‘shrooms’ into small chunks.

– Using leftover cooked turkey? Pull this apart into fry-sized shreds.


STEP 2 – It’s bechamel sauce time!

– Pour the milk into a pan and, using the sieve, slowly and gently stir in all the flour.

Tip: Stir in an up/down motion, rather than around – this mixes the flour best.

– Place this pan of milk on a maximum heat hob for 2 mins (to get the milk warming), then crank it down to 50% to avoid boiling the milk.

– When the milk is warm, drop in 3/4 of the butter, nutmeg, and a handful of salt. Stir gently.

The idea now is to keep slowly stirring the sauce until the butter melts and it then turns thick and creamy. This takes anything from 15 to 25 minutes.

Note: This stirring step is the time-consuming part of this baked tagliatelle recipe. Just be patient.

Also, the sauce ‘turns’ thick real quick; watch out for this. When it first thickens up, allow 5-10 minutes more to get it really gloopy!

– When the sauce is nice and thick, take the pan off the heat and cover.

STEP 3 – Mushroom time.

– Melt 2 or 3 chunks of butter in the frying pan on a medium heat.

– Fry these, stirring regularly, until they are soft and shrivelled. (Allow 2-5 mins, depending on mushroom type.)

USING FRESH TURKEY? Take out the cooked mushrooms, add a little more butter and now fry the turkey gently for 10-15 minutes, until it is nicely browned.

When cooked, chop/shred it into french fry-length chunks.

STEP 4 – Smear the base of your oven dish with butter (just rub a chunk of butter around, pressing down).

– Then sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly on top. Just enough to cover the surface.

Now’s also a good time to pre-heat your oven to 180C (350-degrees Fahrenheit).

STEP 5 – Boil 2 kettles worth of water, and fill your pasta pan.

– Get this water boiling and when bubbling, add a handful or two of salt and a squirt of oil (to stop this long pasta sticking together).

– Check your tagliatelle’s cooking time and boil it for 75% of this time – because we want it ‘al dente’. Stir regularly to avoid sticking!

Tip: If you’ve made fresh pasta, just a minute in the water will do.

STEP 6 – When the pasta is ready, drain it.

– Now drop the pasta, turkey and mushrooms, into the pan of bechamel sauce. Stir thoroughly until mixed through.

– Spoon this mixture into your oven dish and sprinkle the grated parmesan on top.

STEP 7 – Baked for roughly 15 mins in the oven – until nicely golden on top.


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