Find a new weeknight special with the convenience of this Creamy SPAM Tetrazzini Pasta Recipe. Combining the savory richness of canned Spam with the elegance of a classic Tetrazzini, this dish is a true fusion of flavors. The creamy mushroom sauce envelops crispy cubes of SPAM, green peas, and your favorite pasta. This innovative take on a timeless favorite is sure to become a new household staple.
Origins of the Tetrazzini Pasta
The classic pasta dish is named after Italian operatic singer, Luisa Tetrazzini. This was in honor of her American debut in 1905. You could find this pasta casserole served in high-end New York restaurants from the 1950s to the 1980s. The popularity of the dish would blow up and even be found as part of frozen dinners in the 1960s.
The Tetrazzini Pasta Casserole is often made with spaghetti pasta and, with either, chicken or turkey meat. Variations in its vegetable content varies, but consensus remains on the mushrooms and the cream sauce.
Ingredients to make Tetrazzini Pasta
This dish is very convenient to make during the week, thanks to it's simple ingredients and easy one-dish method.
- Cremini Mushrooms
- Short Pasta
- SPAM canned meat
- Frozen Peas
- All-Purpose Flour
- Cream Cheese
See recipe card for quantities.
How to cook SPAM Tetrazzini Pasta in one pan
Start by cooking the pasta until al dente. Strain the cooked pasta and reserve.
In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, cook the onions, garlic and sliced mushrooms. Once cooked, remove from the pan.
Drizzle the hot pan with a little olive oil and fry the cubed pieces of SPAM. Once nice and crispy, remove from the pan and reserve with the cooked mushrooms.
Turn the heat to low and deglaze the pan by melting the butter. Once melted, whisk in flour to make a smooth slurry.
Slowly whisk in the milk. Keep whisking until the sauce simmers and thickens.
Add in the cubed pieces of cream cheese and whisk in until completely melted and incorporated in the sauce. Once smooth, turn off the heat.
Add the frozen peas, the cooked pasta, fried SPAM and the cooked veggies to the sauce in the pan. Stir to combine.
Place the finished Tetrazzini pasta into a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover the top with the panko/parmesan mixture and bake at 400F for 15 minutes.
Hint: After incorporating all the elements into the prepared sauce, the Tetrazzini can be served without placing it in the casserole dish. This is convenient for weeknight meals. Just as convenient, if wanting to make the dish in advanced, placing it in the casserole dish is a great point to place it in the refrigerator, in order to bake later on.
This dish was conceived with SPAM for a quick and convenient meal. Variation and substitutions of this dish can bring it back to its more original roots.
- Pasta - This is commonly made with spaghetti but I love using short types of pasta, like penne, farfalle, fusilli or rigatoni.
- Veggies - I love throwing in frozen peas into this dish for color and sweetness. If you'd like to add in more fibrous veggies like broccoli, cut them small and cook them at the same time as the mushrooms.
- Dairy - For the cream sauce, I used unsweetened almond milk because that's what we have in our home. You can go that route, or use regular milk, or even half and half.
Got leftover Creamy SPAM Tetrazzini Pasta?
This is such a great pasta dish for leftovers. Refrigerate in an air-tight container for 2-3 days. This dish is so addictive, it will not last you longer than that!
Creamy SPAM Pasta (Tetrazzini Style)
- 8 oz Penne , uncooked
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- ½ large White onion , diced small
- 4 cloves Garlic , minced
- 1 pound Cremini mushrooms , halved and sliced
- 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 can SPAM , ¼-inch cubes
- ¼ cup Unsalted Butter
- ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Milk , or dairy free alternative
- 4 oz Cream Cheese , cubed up
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 cup Frozen Green Peas
- ¼ cup Grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup Panko Crumbs
- 2 tablespoon Fresh Pasley , finely chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add in a tablespoon of salt to the water, and cook the pasta until al dente. Strain out the cooked pasta and reserve.
- Heat large skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat, and drizzle in the 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Place the onions, garlic and mushrooms in the pan with the 1 teaspoon salt and the oregano. Cook until the mushrooms have reduced and most of the liquids have evaporated. Scoop out of the pan and place in bowl.
- In the same skillet, drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil and place the cubed SPAM in the pan. Fry until the Spam is nice and crispy on all side. Remove from the skillet and add to the bowl with the veggies.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Place the butter in the skillet and use it to deglaze the pan and scrape up in stuck on bits in the pan. Whisk in the flour into butter to get a smooth mixture (roux). While whisking continuously, slowly pour in the milk and bring to a slow simmer.
- Add the cubed cream cheese into the skillet and whisk until it melts in the sauce. Once completely incorporated, turn off the heat.
- Add the peas, cooked veggies, fried spam, and cooked pasta, into the sauce. Stir everything together to coat.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the pasta in a 2-quart casserole dish. Mix together the parmesan, panko crumbs and chopped parsley in a dish. Sprinkle the mixture over the pasta and place the casserole in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Take the dish out of the oven and rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!