Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Pasta (Bow Ties in a Rich Provolone Cream Sauce with Shallots, Ground Turkey and Portabello)

Make this for someone you have warm fuzzy feelings for, someone you owe money to, or someone that birthed you.

All kidding aside this is quite possibly the best pasta I've ever made. There is something unmistakably nostalgic about it -  like a turkey tetrazzini and beef strogonaf mashup - yet to compare it with these humble dishes would be an insult. My husband who turns his nose up at mushrooms in pasta (and even tetrazzini of any kind) declared it his hands down favorite pasta.

While parmesan would probably work here, I highly recommend seeking out a block of Provolone Piccante cheese for this (I can find it at HEB and if I recall it's less expensive than parmesan anyway.) There is a unique sharpness to this cheese that when mellowed by the sweet shallots and creamy mascarpone turns into molten liquid crack. I realize all cream sauces are decadent but this one is both decadent and sophisticated, both showy and comforting and it somehow infuses the pasta with flavor rather than just coating it.

Green onions are an essential finish for me but I bet fresh thyme (though less of it) would be worth a try.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Pasta 
(Bow Ties in a Rich Provolone Cream Sauce with Shallots, Ground Turkey and Portabello)
Serves 5-6.


Olive oil, 1 tablespoon or enough to lightly coat the bottom of a dutch oven
1/2 cup shallots, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
More olive oil, as needed
2 large portabello caps, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Garlic powder, several shakes
1 pound ground white turkey meat
Red pepper flakes generous pinch
Generous 1/2 cup white wine
8 oz mascarpone
1 1/4 cups shredded provolone picante plus more for garnish (found in the gourmet cheese section of the market in a block like parmesan or manchego)
Lots of fresh ground nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped green onion, more for garnish
3/4 of a 1 pound box farfalle (bow tie) pasta


Fill a large pasta pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling add a pinch of salt then the bow ties. Cook for 7-8 minutes or just until al dente. If the pasta is ready before the sauce, remove with a colander and hold it in a large bowl, reserving the pasta water in case you need some to thin out the sauce.

Meanwhile, heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil - just enough to sauté the shallots in (about a tablespoon or so.) Let heat through for 30 seconds then add the shallots. Season with a good pinch salt and pepper and sauté until softened stirring often - about 4 minutes. Scoot the softened shallots to one side of the pan and add some more olive oil to the bare spot. Let it heat through for a few seconds then add the portabello to that side. Season with a tiny bit more salt and pepper as well as the garlic powder, then stir around the oil to coat. Let cook for one minute then stir the shallots and mushrooms together and keep cooking. If you're in a hurry, you can put the lid on for one minute to cook the mushrooms faster. Otherwise just keep stirring every so often, adding more oil to the pan if it gets too dry and the mushrooms start sticking to the bottom.

When the mushrooms have wilted a little, scoot both them and the shallots over to one side of the pan (add a little more oil if the bare spot is too dry) and add the turkey meat. Give it a couple minutes to begin cooking then stir everything together. 

Season with another teensy pinch of salt and a generous pinch of red pepper flakes and keep stirring and cooking until the meat is no longer pink - about 8 minutes. Now add a generous half cup of white wine and raise the heat to high to bring to a boil.

Let bubble away, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by about half, but not so much that it's evaporated. You want a good 1/4 inch of liquid left in the pan - this will help make the sauce.

Reduce the heat back to medium/low and stir in the 8 oz package of mascarpone cheese until incorporated then the 1 1/4 cups provolone cheese and a good pinch of fresh nutmeg. 

When all mixed together, raise the heat to high again and bring to a bubble, letting the provolone melt and create a sauce. Just let bubble for a minute or two until thickened slightly. Reduce the heat back to low and stir in the 1/3 cup green onions. If the sauce is too thick at this point (more like a cheese spread than a sauce) add a little of the pasta water to it - a tablespoon at a time - when you add the pasta. On the contrary if it seems too loose and thin, add in some more grated provolone and let it melt in to thicken it up.

Stir the bow ties into the sauce and taste for salt and pepper. 

Serve in big bowls with additional grated provolone over the top and chopped green onions.


Claire Watkins Jordan said...

I think I know what Mr. Jordan is getting on Thursday night!

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Yay! I sure hope he likes it if you do!! Happy Valentine's Day;)

Rachelle said...

This looks so delish.