|~ The famous Campanile in Siena’s Piazza del Campo ~
Siena is magical. It’s narrow lined streets bustle with shops, ristoranti, trattorie and throngs of people. Yet despite the congestion this ancient walled Etruscan city can attract, the beauty and enchantment that is Siena never succumbs to the crazed masses. Whether its sitting with a gelato or caffe on the Piazza del Campo or cheering wildly if you happen to be there during Paleo, Siena will touch you in a way that you’ll always remember.
On my last visit, the Piazza del Campo was remarkably uncongested. We strolled the Campo and although I was tempted by the smells of the trattoria lining the Piazza, I knew we’d get delicious food much less expensively just off the Campo. After searching frantically for a Vodafone store to buy a charger (caricatore is the word you may want to remember) for my iPhone, we were ready for a relaxing lunch and some vino. We found a small Osteria with maybe a dozen thick wooden tables and rustic beamed ceilings. I loved the look of the place and the “piatti del giorno” was a pasta dish featuring a turkey ragu which became the inspiration for today’s new recipe.
Pasta alla Siena
1 pound Whole Wheat Fusilli
1 pound baby kale
1 pound ground turkey
1 box Pomi Crushed Tomatoes
3 cloves garlic sliced
1 sweet vidalia onion chopped
Salt & Pepper
Crushed red pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This dish could not be easier and can not be healthier. In this version, I used whole wheat pasta, but of course you can use regular semolina pasta.
In a pan large enough to hold the sauce and pasta once it’s finished, start by sauteing the garlic and onions in some olive oil until they soften, about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and break up the pieces with a spoon until they begin to pick up some color – about 5 minutes more. If you need to, drizzle in some more olive oil. Next add the tomatoes and stir through. Continue simmering over medium low heat while you begin cooking the pasta.
|~ The ragu just after adding the baby kale ~
About a minute before the pasta is al dente, toss the kale into the ragu and stir through constantly until it wilts completely. You may want to add it a handful at a time, but it will wilt away to almost nothing. Just before adding the pasta to the pan, check seasoning and add as much crushed red pepper as you like. I like to spice this dish up since the meat has very little fat in it.
|~ Pasta alla Siena: Fusilli with baby kale, tomato and ground turkey ~
This was delicious and very healthy. The tomatoes and kale are packed with vitamins and once the kale wilts, it gets tangled around the fusilli. The turkey is tender, moist and spicy and packs the protein without adding much fat to the dish. This disappeared from the table (both in Siena and at home!) very quickly. Best of all, the entire dish comes together in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.
Tutti a tavola!