If you’re wondering what to do with those rich juices from your roasted turkey, and you’re tired of soup or risotto, here’s my favorite recipe: an easy to make yet memorable pasta. The savory depth of the meat juices combined with the nutty flavor of the grated Parmigiano results in something far more than the sum of its simple parts.
After roasting your turkey, add a few cups of water to that roasting pan, scrape well to deglaze the clinging bits, and cook the juices until rich, then save them for the recipe below. You can even freeze the rich juices in ice cube trays for later use. This is one dish where homemade stock (or the reserved juices from roasted meats) really makes a difference; the store-bought stuff just won’t give you the depth of flavor needed to elevate a simple dish to extraordinary status.
And remember: when caramelizing the onions, take it low and slow… no need for sugar, just patience and a low heat and a bit of water to prevent scorching.
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large red onions, thinly sliced (2 cups)
- 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- cool water as needed
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups rich turkey stock
For the pasta and to serve:
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 pound reginette or other fresh, wide pasta noodles
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Make the sauce: Melt the butter over a medium-low flame in a deep, wide saucepan large enough to accommodate the pasta later. Add the onions and rosemary, season with the salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are soft and lightly golden, about 30 minutes, stirring often and adding a bit of water if the onions start to stick; the trick to caramelizing onions is to cook them slowly and to add a bit of moisture as needed. Watch the flame so the onions don’t burn.
Pour in the wine and cook 2 minutes, scraping the pan to release any caramelized bits into the liquid. Pour in the turkey stock, stir well, and cook over medium-low heat until there is about ¾ cup of liquid in the pan. It will take about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. The sauce should be very flavorful and intense. (The sauce can be made up to this point 2 days in advance; refrigerate until needed, then warm gently before proceeding.)
Make the pasta: Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente, then drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
Transfer the drained pasta to the saucepan and sauté 1 minute over high heat. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water as needed to thin out the sauce; it should coat the pasta nicely. Stir in the Parmigiano. Drizzle with the olive oil, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve hot.