Spicy Turkey Tenders with Blue Cheese Penne Pasta

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 35 min
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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For the dry rub:

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons celery salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 pounds turkey tenders, cut into 2-inch pieces

For the bechamel:

3 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons canola oil

8 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups skim milk

3/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons blue cheese, divided

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup hot sauce, warmed (recommended: Franks)

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 pounds penne rigate pasta

1/4 cup chopped Roma tomatoes


  1. For the dry rub: In a small bowl, mix together the dry spices and season turkey tenders. Cover with plastic wrap and place into refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. For the bechamel: In a large saute pot over medium heat, add butter and oil. Warm until the butter melts then whisk in flour, until mixture is smooth. Slowly add skim milk with whisk, breaking down solids. When all the milk is added, slightly simmer for 10 minutes and then whisk in 3/4 cup blue cheese and nutmeg. Hold warm.
  3. Preheat grill or cast iron skillet to high.
  4. Add turkey tender pieces and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, or juice runs clear. Remove from grill, toss in warmed hot sauce, and hold warm.
  5. In a large pot heat 2 gallons of water to boil, and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Add pasta, and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
  6. Toss drained pasta with blue cheese bechamel sauce, next remove turkey tenders from hot sauce, and toss in pasta and bechamel. Garnish with Roma tomatoes and remaining blue cheese.