So, my son just asked me is there anything you cannot turn into a casserole? That made me laugh. It is true. I love taking sandwiches or pizzas and making those flavors into casseroles or soups. My son was so excited that we had some leftover turkey in the freezer to try this dish.
What is a Hot Brown? I just had one for the first time when we went to Louisville, Kentucky recently. It is a “sandwich” with hearty bread on the bottom (usually French or Italian bread is what I was told was usually used), topped with turkey and sliced tomatoes. Then a Morney sauce, a French cheese sauce, over the top. It is heated and then put under the broiler with more cheese on top and bacon. Yummy!
So, I took the elements of the dish and changed it into a casserole. I swapped the bread for pasta and mixed the other elements together. It reminded us of a fancy macaroni and cheese dish.
- 2 – 3 cups leftover turkey, cut into small pieces
- 1 lb. bacon, cooked to crispy and crumbled
- 1 (16 oz box) pasta, cooked and drained
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup flour
- 4 cups warmed whole milk (or half and half)
- 2 cups warmed cream
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into small pieces (may leave out if you wish)
- black pepper
- 6 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 6 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely shredded or grated (divided)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole pan with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl mix turkey pieces, bacon, tomatoes, and pasta. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once butter has fully melted sprinkle flour over the top and whisk until a thick paste forms. Continue whisking for 1-2 minutes until the flour starts to slightly turn brown.
- Slowly drizzle the warmed milk and cream into the sauce. Keep whisking to avoid clumps. Once fully mixed in remove pan from heat.
- Add black pepper, Gruyere cheese, and 3 oz. Parmesan cheese into sauce continue whisking until smooth. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. I tend to not use salt as the cheeses are salty but add a pinch or two if you like to taste.
- Pour sauce over pasta mix and stir well.
- Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 20 minutes until heated through.
- Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Place under broiler for 1-2 minutes until light and bubbly and browning at edges.
- Remove pan from oven and serve hot with extra black pepper if desired.