We celebrated the Super Bowl with a slightly unconventional menu:
Stuffed turkey breast
Spice-rubbed roast chicken
Spaghetti with bacon and onions
Chocolate pecan pie
The turkey breast turned out well. I stuffed it with Italian sausage and some aromatics, and then grill roasted it on the rotisserie. The chicken was even better, rubbed with a savory spice mixture that included lots of smoked paprika. The rich caramel color and assertive flavors were a big hit.
The fennel salad was simple and delicious. It included orange and grapefruit segments, shaved fennel, dried cherries, and pecorino romano cheese. The recipe called for pomegranate seeds, but I had to substitute the cherries. The dressing was a basic citrus vinaigrette.
The pasta was outstanding! I browned 8 ounces of good bacon in a large skillet, removed the bacon, and then gently sautéed a chopped onion and a little garlic until it caramelized. As the onion cooked, I boiled a pound of spaghetti in salted water. Once the pasta was cooked, I drained it and added it to the skillet, tossing the mixture together for about a minute. (NOTE- never, ever rinse cooked pasta unless the recipe specifically calls for it. The partially dissolved starches coating just-cooked pasta promote ‘sauce adhesion’. Rinsing these off makes it harder to bring pasta and condimento together into a cohesive dish.) You can add a little pasta water to thin and ‘extend’ the sauce if it is tight. I finished the dish with a little chopped parsley and more pecorino romano.
Other than the pecan pie, all the recipes were taken from Mario Batali’s Italian Grill cookbook. I’m also proud to say that I brought the whole menu together in about 4 hours, including shopping.