It was a big week for leftovers, and we partook. We transformed roasted sunchokes into sunchoke bisque, enjoyed a cheesy risotto made with squash puree, and ate cold pumpkin pie for breakfast. And we eschewed turkey soup for turkey tetrazzini a la Amanda Hesser. Hers is an easy, delicious way to remake leftover turkey, and we’ve been doing it for years.

So we were surprised and a little shocked to learn, upon consulting Hesser’s original recipe, that it only vaguely resembles the baked turkey and mushroom pasta that we eat every year. No matter. We made it up as we went, whisking up a creamy sauce with reconstituted porcinis, cooking the penne al dente, and sticking the whole wet mess of it in the oven. It’s comfort food to the max. There’s nothing like the sound of cheesy sauce bubbling in a hot casserole or the sight of that browned breadcrumb crust. This year’s version was memorable enough to write down and do again next time.

Recipe: Baked Turkey Tetrazzini

6-8 slices dried porcini / 2 tbls butter / 2 tbls flour / ½ c meat stock / 1 tbls marsala wine / ¼ cup cream or whole milk / 1 cup shredded turkey meat / salt & pepper / ¼ cup breadcrumbs / ¼ cup Parmesan cheese / ½ lb penne

Soak porcini in ½ cup hot water. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat butter in a small saucepan. When melted, whisk in flour until mixture is smooth. Stir in stock and marsala and cook over medium heat. Add strained mushroom liquid and chopped porcinis. Add cream or milk to the sauce – it should be pretty thick – and season with salt until it’s fairly salty. Stir in turkey.

Meanwhile, parcook penne for about 7 minutes, draining when the pasta still has a slight crunch. Mix sauce and pasta thoroughly – there should be plenty of liquid – and pour everything into an ovenproof casserole dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese, and grind on pepper to taste. Cover with foil and bake approximately 20 minutes, removing foil in the last few minutes so the top browns. Feeds 2. Serve immediately. Adapted from Amanda Hesser.