Friday, March 25, 2011
Spaghetti Al'Amatriciana - with a Turkey Twist!
What are these? Well, maybe I can help you guess.
Are you the kind of person who always wants to carve the turkey at Thanksgiving, or at least be close to the person who carves the turkey so that you can have a certain piece of the turkey all to yourself? A piece that there is only one of?
Do you eat that piece of turkey in private for fear of ridicule (or because you have another family member who secretly wants it and you want to claim it for himself)?
Do you sneak into the kitchen while the turkey is being carved and quickly grab a certain something while no one is looking before it makes it to the table?
I know for years when my mother made Thanksgiving dinner I would always ask her for the carcass for soup-making purposes. Certain parts of that carcass never made it into the stock pot.
Do you not want to admit that something so loaded with fat is just so darned delicious?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
If you didn't, I'll clue you in. I'm talking about the back end. The tail. The part that goes over the fence last. THE BUTT. Maybe they don't always want to admit it, but turkey butts have their loyal fans and the gods help any family that has two turkey butt lovers.
I openly loved my turkey tails as a kid, but my mostly fat-phobic family started to instill a sense of shame about it as I grew older, so I stopped openly asking for it at Thanksgiving and began eating it on the sly. I found out as I grew older though that many tail lovers are coming out of the closet and now openly snack on the back end. My brother has admitted to eating a tail or two. I was even shocked when I found out my very calorie-conscious stepmother is an aficionado of the turkey tail.
You can imagine my joy when I was browsing the meat department at my local Shop Rite and discovered a package of turkey tails - SMOKED.
Yes, smoked turkey tails are my new best friend. I bought that package right away not even knowing what I was going to do with them (other than the obvious act of simply chowing down on them as a midnight snack). I put them in my freezer and pondered their purpose.
What I have discovered about smoked turkey tails is that they are the perfect substitute for bacon in recipes. Like bacon they are rich and fatty, and they are also sweet and smoky. I would even believe slices of smoked turkey tail would be great alongside eggs for breakfast. They have much more flavor than turkey bacon and don't taste so artificial.
So I decided to use turkey tails to rescue the amatriciana recipe.
I rendered the meat then added the usual suspects of hot peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes and wine.
I know there are plenty of chi chi recipes out there that use bucatini, but I stuck with spaghetti. My store had no bucatini. They did have artisinal perciatelli, and I can't tell the difference between bucatini and perciatelli, but they were way more money that I would want to pay for pasta!