Turkey Day provides for yet another feast

Entertaining: Post-Thanksgiving pasta with turkey is much more than a meal made from leftovers.

November 28, 1999|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

I always roast a larger bird than needed on Thanksgiving so there will be extra turkey to enjoy on the days after this holiday. In fact, my family considers the dishes created from the leftovers to be as delectable as the original roast fowl served on Thanks- giving day.

In the past, I've prepared all manner of creations with leftover turkey. Crisp, pastry-topped pot pies laden with morsels of turkey and vegetables are a favorite, as are hot turkey sandwiches served on toasted sourdough bread napped with rich brown gravy. I've also served turkey and cranberry wraps, turkey and cheese quesadillas, and turkey, walnut and dried cranberry salad.

This year, it occurred to me that a Thanksgiving pasta might be appropriate, so I enthusiastically started experimenting. I bought a whole roasted turkey breast (sold in the area where the roast chickens are displayed) at a local supermarket along with a wedge of creamy Brie, bunches of red and green grapes, a bouquet of flat-leaf parsley, some bacon and a package of penne.

At home, I diced the turkey, then removed the rind from the Brie and cut the cheese into small pieces. I halved the grapes, fried several strips of bacon and chopped the parsley. At serving time, I cooked and drained the penne, and tossed it with the Brie and a little butter, both of which melted to make a light sauce-like coating for the pasta. Finally, I stirred the turkey, grapes, bacon and parsley into the pasta.

I've made this quick and simple main course several times for my husband, who has given it rave reviews, and I can't wait to try it out Thanksgiving weekend. A salad of mixed greens in a red or white wine vinaigrette dressing, warm Italian bread and a bowl of ripe pears for dessert could complete this after-Thanksgiving menu. This recipe is for five to six servings, but it can be doubled easily, if needed.

Pasta del Ringraziamento (Post-Thanksgiving Pasta With Turkey, Grapes and Brie)

Serves 5-6

10 ounces Brie, preferably double or triple cream-style Brie

6 ounces (8 to 9 strips) bacon

1 pound penne

salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 cups diced roasted turkey, skin removed

2 cups red or green seedless grapes or combination of both, halved lengthwise

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

freshly ground black pepper

Slice away and discard rind from Brie. Cut cheese into 1/2 -inch cubes. Set aside on plate to bring to room temperature. Fry bacon or cook in microwave and drain on paper towels. Cut or break into 1/2 -inch pieces.

When ready to cook pasta, bring 6 quarts water to boil in large, heavy pot over high heat. When boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain well. Return pasta to pan in which it was cooked.

Add Brie and butter to pasta and toss until cheese and butter have melted. Stir in turkey, grapes, bacon and parsley and mix well. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper. Mound pasta on heated serving platter and serve immediately.

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