Savory Leftover Turkey Pasta with Mushrooms is a delicious and easy way to use that leftover Thanksgiving turkey! Read on for details or click here to jump down to the recipe. Disclosure: The wine for the featured wine pairing was provided as a complimentary sample.
Looking for ways to use leftover turkey? I enjoy the challenge of turning Thanksgiving leftovers into another good meal, typically one that is quite different than the holiday feast!
Originally published in 2016, updated in 2019 to include a new wine pairing suggestion and additional recipe tips.
In addition to this Leftover Turkey Pasta recipe, be sure to also check out our Turkey and Butternut Squash Stew and also Orzo with Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potatoes recipes, as well the #SundaySupper group recipes below the recipe card.
For more inspiration, check out our 19 Leftover Turkey Recipes.
Making Leftover Turkey Pasta
Anyone familiar with the dish “Turkey Tetrazzini” knows that turkey and mushrooms can work together in a pasta dish. Our combination of turkey and mushrooms has less cream than turkey tetrazzini typically does, making it a lighter meal than the Thanksgiving feast.
Below are a few tips for making leftover turkey pasta; jump ahead to the recipe card for the complete step by step instructions
- Turkey: This recipe starts with the anticipation that you have leftover turkey on hand. But if you are looking for a recipe to cook the turkey initially, here’s a version of roasted turkey breast that has worked well for us. Once you’ve had the initial meal, cut the leftover turkey meat into bite sized pieces.
- Get your skillet ready: We cook the leftover turkey mushroom sauce in our cast iron skillet (Amazon affiliate link). Get yours ready to make this dish. You can start boiling water for pasta as you get the skillet ready to make the sauce.
- Cooking the mushrooms: Mushrooms bring a depth of flavor to this leftover turkey pasta. After the onions have softened from sautéing, add the mushrooms. They cook until they “sweat”, which means liquid starts to come out of the mushroom. This takes about 5 minutes. Then the mushrooms simmer in wine to enhance the flavor and further soften them.
- Add the pasta to boiling water after adding the wine to the mushrooms. I’d always rather have the sauce finish up a few minutes before the pasta, so that the pasta can be tossed with sauce and cheese immediately after draining it.
- Finishing the leftover turkey sauce: The turkey just needs about 5 minutes to warm up and absorb the flavors. You want to have a bit of liquid at the bottom of the skillet. If it looks a bit dry after the turkey has warmed up, add a couple tablespoons of broth, cooking wine or olive oil. Cover to keep warm while the pasta finishes cooking – this will also generate a bit more liquid that will make the sauce combine better with the pasta.
Now that the dish is finished, let’s talk about the wine!
Wine Pairing for Leftover Turkey Pasta
Turkey and mushrooms together makes me think about Pinot Noir right off the bat. We’ve enjoyed the Leftover Turkey Pasta with Pinot a few times with good results.
For last year’s remake of this recipe, we opened the 2017 Domaine Brussett La Bastide ($21, 13.5% ABV) from the Rasteau AOC, an appellation in France’s Rhone region. This blend of Grenache and Mourvedre has rustic qualities that made it a nice match for the leftover turkey pasta! Velvety tannins and a lingering acidity make it a food friendly wine. Stay tuned for more information on the Rasteau AOC, as we will be discussing the region with the French Winophiles in November.
While my first instinct for this dish is a red wine pairing, for a 2020 remake we enjoyed the leftover turkey pasta with a good Sonoma Chardonnay from Sbragia. If you want to go with a white wine, I would go for full bodied wines such as Chard or perhaps a white Rhone blend.
Leftover Turkey Pasta with Mushrooms
Leftover Turkey Pasta is a tasty way to use those turkey leftovers. Very different than the Thanksgiving meal!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 25 mins
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
- 2 to 3 cups cooked turkey leftovers, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ozs sliced mushrooms
- ⅓ cup red wine
- 2 tbsp butter
- 12 ozs linguine or spaghetti
- ½ cup pecorino romano cheese plus additional for serving
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tsp dried
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp chicken broth (optional)
- Get started: Begin boiling the water for the linguine. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion and sauté.
- Add mushrooms: When the onion has softened, after 5 minutes or so, stir in the garlic and cook for another couple minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, and when melted, stir in the mushrooms, and add the rosemary, thyme, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook until the mushrooms begin to soften and “sweat”, about 5 minutes.
- Simmer with wine: Stir in the wine, and cook it down for about 5 minutes. After the wine has cooked down, finish the mushroom preparation by adding the other tablespoon of butter.
- Cook pasta: Start cooking the pasta according to package directions around the time you add the wine.
- Add turkey: Stir in the leftover turkey, and broth if using. Heat on medium low until the turkey is warmed up. Lower heat, cover, and keep warm on low heat until the pasta is done.
- Prepare pasta: Drain the pasta when it is cooked to your liking, then toss with the turkey and mushroom mixture. You can toss the pasta right in the skillet
- Finish the dish: Stir the cheese into the pasta. The leftover turkey pasta is now ready to serve and enjoy!
- The amount of turkey can vary based on what you have available.
- I didn’t use the optional broth the first time making the leftover turkey pasta, but found it helped provide enough liquid for the turkey mushroom sauce. You could use water or cooking wine to serve the same purpose if needed.
Keywords: leftover turkey, pasta with turkey, turkey and mushrooms, leftover turkey pasta
Looking for more ideas for your Thanksgiving leftovers? There are a bunch of wonderful recipes in the links below. I also need to give shout out for two of my past #SundaySupper leftover turkey recipes: Turkey and Butternut Squash Stew and also Orzo with Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potatoes.