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Timber 2 Table - Garlic Butter Wild Turkey Pasta Carbonara

Top a classic pasta carbonara with garlicky, buttery strips of wild turkey breast for a little something extra

Garlic Butter Wild Turkey Pasta Carbonara

30 Min

Prep Time

25 Min

Cook Time





The simplicity of a good pasta carbonara belies the incredible flavor the handful of ingredients turn out as they come together in a creamy pasta that has no right being this good. As good as it is, you can make it even better by topping it with tender strips of wild turkey breast you’ve pan-seared in garlic butter.

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Add some protein, and loads of flavor, to classic pasta carbonara with wild turkey breast strips sautéed in garlic butter.

Since carbonara only has a few ingredients, go ahead and splurge a little to get the best quality. Use good pasta; high-quality guanciale (cured hog jowl), diced pancetta, or thick, country-style bacon; real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; and farm-fresh eggs. While you would swear the sauce contained lots of rich, heavy cream, that texture comes purely from the eggs, a little pasta water, and the cheese.

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The diced guanciale, pancetta, or bacon gives the dish a smoky, salty touch.

For the turkey, it doesn’t get much simpler. Slice the breast meat against the grain into thin strips and sear it in a combination of olive oil and good butter. Add a generous amount of minced garlic right at the end.

Start a large pot of water with 3 tablespoons of kosher salt over high heat. While the water comes to a boil, dice the guanciale, pancetta, or bacon into ¼-inch cubes. Mix the egg yolks with the whole eggs and 2 ounces of Parmesan cheese until no streaks remain. Set aside.

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Mix the eggs with the grated cheese.

Season the turkey breast with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and started to brown, add the strips of turkey breast. Sauté until the meat has cooked all the way through, about 5-6 minutes depending on size of slices. Add the minced garlic and turn the heat to low to hold everything warm while you make the carbonara.

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Sauté the turkey in garlic butter.

In a large pot or skillet, brown the cured meat until crisp. While the meat cooks, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook it 1-2 minutes less than package instructions call for.

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Cook the guanciale, pancetta, or bacon until crisp.

Reserve 2 cups of the hot pasta water.

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Reserve some of the pasta water for the sauce.

Once the meat is ready, remove it from the pan. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the remaining fat left in the pan from the meat. Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and bring to a boil. Stir and toss the pasta continuously for 1-2 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the water has been reduced by about half. Remove the pan from the heat. This step is important. You don’t want to overcook the egg mixture, or your sauce won’t be creamy.

Once the pan has been removed from the heat, add about ¼ cup of the remaining pasta water to the egg mixture and whisk together. Slowly stir the egg mixture into the pasta, tossing as you go to evenly coat all of the pasta. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the remaining pasta water, about a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a creamy consistency. Add freshly ground black pepper.

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Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mixed egg and cheese.

Return the cooked guanciale, pancetta, or bacon to the pan and toss to incorporate throughout the pasta.

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Add the reserved guanciale, pancetta, or bacon and stir to blend.

Plate the pasta and top with the garlic-butter turkey breast. Garnish with additional Parmesan, if desired.


1-1½ pounds of wild turkey breast, cut into strips across the grain

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

6 ounces guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl), pancetta, or bacon, diced

2 ounces high-quality Parmesan cheese, grated

4 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound spaghetti or rigatoni dried pasta

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