Orechiette Pasta with Calabrian Spiced Turkey Sausage
Chef Kevin Long
As soon as there’s a nip in the air, this hearty pasta dish would make a welcome addition to the menu. Chef Kevin Long prepares his own spiced turkey sausage mixture with ground turkey, fennel seed, coriander, dried chilies and other seasonings. Orecchiete pasta is the perfect shape to contrast with the sausage and other ingredients in the dish.
Calabrian spice blend
3 oz. paprika
1½ tsp. dried chilies (pequin chile or dried Italian pepperoncini)
2 oz. whole fennel seed
1 oz. coarse natural sugar
1 oz. coarse sea salt
½ oz. whole coriander seed
Pinch lavender flowers
Pinch cumin seed
Pinch dried herbes de Provence
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb. ground turkey
1 med. red onion, sliced
½ bulb fennel, sliced
1 red jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. Calabrian spice blend
1 lb. orecchiette pasta
Pasta cooking water, as needed
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. butter
3 cups arugula
¼ cup chopped chives
¼ cup chopped scallions
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1. For Calabrian spice blend, in blender, combine all ingredients; pulse until ground.
2. For sausage, in large skillet over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add turkey, onion, fennel, jalapeno and garlic; toss to combine. Stir in Calabrian spice blend. Saute until turkey is cooked through and vegetables are caramelized. Hold for service.
3. For pasta, bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orecchiette; cook until al dente. Drain, reserving pasta cooking water. Keep pasta warm.
4. Per order, in large bowl, combine some of sausage mixture, some cooked pasta, about ¼ cup pasta water, some tomatoes, and a little butter and oil; toss to heat. Add 1/3 cup arugula and a sprinkling of chives, scallions and grated cheese. Adjust seasoning and add Calabrian spice blend to taste.
5. To serve, portion into pasta bowl. Drizzle each portion with a little extra olive oil and Calabrian spice, if needed.
Photo courtesy of National Turkey Federation