Thanksgiving Dinner: Turkey Porchetta with Cauliflower Au Gratin

November 14, 2014

Give your Thanksgiving dinner a twist with this tasty turkey breast porchetta. Porchetta is a traditional Italian dish of a pork loin wrapped within pork belly that is then tied up and roasted. Chef Anthony Pino gives this classic Italian dish a festive makeover by using turkey breast instead of pork and rolls it all up with prosciutto, Pecorino cheese, bread and hard boiled eggs (polpettone-style!). It's seasoned with fresh herbs then roasted for 40 minutes until beautifully crisp and golden brown. Serve it up with his comforting and creamy Cauliflower Au Gratin (recipe below).

Turkey Porchetta
Courtesy of Chef Anthony Pino of Anthony David's

1 ounce olive oil
3 ounces butter
4 cups spinach
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2.5-3 pounds turkey breast, boneless, skin-on, pounded
8 pieces prosciutto, sliced
4 ounces sweet Italian sausage, raw, no casing
2 cups crunchy bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces Pecorino cheese, grated
3 hard boiled eggs, left whole
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When butter has melted, add garlic and quickly sauté until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the turkey by first slicing the breast meat in a horizontal fashion. Skin side down, cover the exposed breast meat with plastic wrap. Using a meat tenderizer, pound the meat until approximately 1/2 inch thick. Now remove the plastic wrap and season with salt and pepper.

Start to layer all the ingredients. First, lay the turkey breast skin side down and place the prosciutto slices side by side, overlapping slightly, on top of the breasts. Then, take the cooked spinach and spread it over the prosciutto. Follow with the sausage, pecorino, and bread. Lastly, align the eggs lengthwise down the center.

With the skin portion of the breast furthest away from you, begin to roll the breast gingerly to ensure the items stay in place. Keep rolling until the skin is on top and the breast roll looks firm. Season the turkey skin with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Then, using butcher twine, tie the breast at the ends first to secure, then complete tying the remainder of the roll.

Place the turkey in a roasting pan and cook on the center rack of the oven for 40 minutes.

Slice and serve immediately.

Cauliflower Au Gratin

1 ounce extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, julienned (thinly sliced)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 quart heavy cream
1.5 cups Pecorino cheese, grated
2 heads cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 ounces butter, sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium-sized saucepan, add olive oil and heat over medium. Once the oil is hot add the shallots and garlic and sauté until caramelized to a nice light golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove any excess oil and add the heavy cream. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Add the cauliflower and simmer for 4 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish, top with breadcrumbs and bake until bubbly and golden brown.