Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fettuccine Carbonara con Tacchino e Carciofi

     Fettuccine Carbonara With Turkey and Artichokes!
     Pasta Carbonara is rich beyond belief.  Pasta Carbonara provides enough protein, lipids and carbohydrates to keep an outdoor worker warm and happy in sub zero temperatures.  
     The old expression, "eating like an Eskimo," does have some validity.  Those who work endless hours outdoors on a daily basis do tend to prefer heavy rich food.  When the weather is unbearably cold, the body craves food that is rich with carbohydrates, fat and protein.  Pasta Carbonara satisfies these needs.
     Pasta Carbonara definitely sticks to the ribs and hunger is guaranteed not to return anytime soon.  The full tummy feeling that Pasta Carbonara provides, may even last till sometime the next day.  After eating a big bowl of Pasta Carbonara, sitting in a recliner chair while sipping on an Italian aperitif is just about the only thing that can be accomplished. 
     Today's Pasta Carbonara recipe variation is made with standard sugar cured bacon and there is no Italian pancetta in the recipe.  A food processor is used to mince the basic carbonara paste.  
     Turkey and artichokes were added to the basic Carbonara recipe.  In recent years, turkey has been a popular healthy meat choice in Italy and it replaces pork in many recipes.  Artichoke lightens the heavy sauce a little bit, but today's Carbonara is not light on the tummy by any means.

     Carbonara gets its name from the crushed black peppercorn garnish.  Crushed black pepper is added to the sauce and it is sprinkled over the finished pasta.  The black specks resemble carbon bits that landed on the pasta from charcoal that was stoked in a pot belly stove while the pasta was being prepared.  Some say this is how Carbonara got its name.  Others say that a pasta with pancetta cream sauce was a simple meal that charcoal kiln tenders liked to make on chilly days.  Either way, charcoal specks have something to do with the Carbonara name.   

     *This entire recipe yields 1 hearty pasta entrée!
     Artichoke Preparation:
     Boil 1 large artichoke in salted water with 1/2 of a lemon, till the artichoke becomes tender.
     Cool the artichoke under cold running water.
     Remove the outer leaves, the stem and the sharp choke from the artichoke heart.
     Cut the artichoke heart and bottom into bite size pieces.
     Set the artichoke pieces aside.
     Minced Bacon, Garlic and Onion Pesto:
     Place 2 1/2 strips of coarse chopped cured bacon in a food processor.
     Add 1/3 cup of coarsely chopped onion.
     Add 4 garlic cloves. 
     Pulse the food processor, till the mixture becomes finely minced and it looks like a thick paste.
     Set the mixture aside.

     Cook 1 portion of fettuccine pasta in boiling water over high heat, till it becomes al dente.
     Cool the pasta under cold running water;
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Toss the pasta with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and set it aside.

     Fettuccine Carbonara con Tacchino e Carciofi:
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of blended olive oil.
     Add the minced bacon, garlic and onion paste.
     Sauté the ingredients, till the onions start to turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 4 ounces of raw turkey breast filet that is cut into small bite size pieces.
     Sauté the ingredients, till the bacon and onions turn a golden brown color.
     Step 3:  Add just enough flour to soak up the excess grease, while stirring.  (About 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons) 
     Stir till the roux combines.
     Step 4:  Add 2 cups of milk.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.  Stir occasionally.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt to taste.
     Add 1 teaspoon of crushed black peppercorn.
     Add a 2 1/2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiana Cheese while stirring.
     Add the reserved artichoke pieces.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce till it is a thin consistency that can barely coat a spoon.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.  (The temperature must be less than 145ºF when the egg yolk is added.)
     Add 1 egg yolk, while constantly stirring and gently shaking the pan.  Stir the egg into the sauce quickly!
     Gently simmer and stir for about 30 seconds, till the egg yolk tightens the sauce.
     Step 7:  Add the reserved al dente fettuccine pasta.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together as the pasta warms in the sauce.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Use a straight tine carving fork to mound the Fettuccine Carbonara con Tacchino e Carciofi in a shallow pasta bowl.
     Spoon any remaining sauce over the pasta.
     Sprinkle 1/2 of a fine grated hard boiled egg over the pasta.
     Sprinkle 2 to 3 pinches coarse ground black pepper over the pasta.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of fine chopped Italian Parsley over the pasta.
     Serve with a ramekin of fine grated Parmigiana Cheese on the side.
     Viola!  This Turkey and Artichoke Carbonara version is good cold weather food! 

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