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Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Pasta

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Leftover turkey finally comes into its own in Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Pasta.

Even if you aren’t a big fan of Thanksgiving turkey (maybe you’re more of a ham person, or maybe you envision the turkey as a side for the sides), it’s likely that you are a fan of Thanksgiving leftovers. 

And in the mix of day-old dressing, cold sweet potatoes and straight-from-the-fridge cranberry sauce, a little turkey must be added. This Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Pasta offers just the spot for it. Cheesy and creamy, this pasta takes turkey on a 180 from its original centerpiece state. Here, it is the sidekick to pasta, and parmesan, and mushrooms, and garlic. The basil sprinkled on at the very end ensures that cheesy doesn’t taste too heavy or basic. But don’t feel constrained by my suggestion to use basil. What herbs do you have left over from cooking for The Big Day? Sage? Tarragon? Parsley? Yes, yes and yes. If you have them all, use them. You cannot go wrong.

Day-after-Thanksgiving turkey has finally come into its own.

Day-after-Thanksgiving Turkey Pasta

1 pound penne rigate
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
¾ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon cayenne
3 cups leftover turkey, chopped or shredded
1 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook for 8 minutes. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, and sauté 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and sauté about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft. Add the cream, ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and cayenne to the mushrooms in the skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. Add the turkey and simmer another 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Mix the pasta and parmesan into the mushroom sauce in the same skillet. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh basil over the top.


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