Rigatoni with Smoked Turkey and Hot Cherry Peppers
- 4 smoked Turkey Wing sections, about 4 pounds, recipe follows
- 1 (32-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced 1/4-inch-thick (about 2 cups)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 bottled hot cherry peppers, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup homemade or canned reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano, for garnish
Smoke the turkey wings according to the directions below. This can be done up to two days in advance of making the sauce. Wrap the turkey wings in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator until needed.
Drain the tomatoes in a colander over a bowl. Locate the core on the tomatoes and gently pull out, taking as many seeds along with the cores as you can. Don't worry about any seeds you leave behind. Chop the tomatoes coarsely by hand or by squeezing them with your fingers right at the colander. Return the tomatoes to the liquid in the bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic and cherry peppers. Season lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
Carefully pour the tomatoes, their liquid and the chicken broth into the pot, tuck the wings into the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering and cook, covered, until the turkey meat begins to fall from the bones, about 1 hour. Pluck the wings from the sauce and set them aside to cool. Remove the sauce from the heat.
When the wings are cool enough to handle, pull off the skin and remove the meat from the bones, shredding it coarsely as you go. Stir the meat into the sauce. Taste and season with salt if necessary. The sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
About half an hour before you're ready to serve the pasta, heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Bring 4 cups of the sauce to a simmer. (Refrigerate or freeze any remaining sauce.) Stir the rigatoni into the water and continue stirring gently until the water returns to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Ladle off and reserve about a cup of the pasta cooking liquid and drain the pasta well. Return the pasta to the pot and place it under low heat. Stir in the reserved 4 cups of sauce and the basil. If the sauce doesn't flow smoothly over the pasta, stir in the reserved pasta cooking water as necessary.
Remove the pot from the heat, stir in a handful of grated cheese, and spoon the pasta onto a serving platter. Pass additional grated cheese at the table if you like.Turkey Wings:
3 whole small turkey wings (about 1 1/4 pounds each) or 6 wing segments from smaller wings (about 4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare stovetop smoker with soaked wood chips according to manufacturers instructions.
Trim any excess fat from the wings and cut the wings into individual segments if necessary: first cut off and discard the wing tips; we won't be smoking those since they have no meat. Next, cut the remaining part of the wing into two pieces at the joint. To make this easier, make a small cut near the joint and, with your hands, bend the wing until it is nearly straight. If you take a careful look at the joint, you will notice a space between the joint, that's where you want to cut. Once you do a few of these, you'll get the hang of where to cut.
Season each wing section with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a scant 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Rub the seasoning vigorously into the turkey.
Smoke until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the wing near the bone registers 170 degrees F. (To be sure, probe a few different pieces before deciding they're done.); about 45 minutes after closing the smoker lid. (Begin checking the wings for doneness with an instant-read thermometer after 35 minutes.)
If the turkey wings haven't reached the proper temperature after 45 minutes, heat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the wings until done as described above.
Use smoked turkey wings to season your favorite bean soups, vegetable soups or baked bean dishes.