Dive into the Deliciousness of Turkey Bolognese: A Lighter Take on a Classic Comfort Food

Despite being a lighter version of the popular Italian classic, this turkey bologense sauce is just as flavorful, thick, and substantial. I walk you through making the best bolognese sauce (with beef or turkey!) in this tutorial. For ease of serving the sauce over pasta for supper, you can prepare it ahead of time and store it. But dont worry, I also have a quick shortcut for those busy weeknights.

A staple of Italian cooking, bolognaise sauce is made with a substantial blend of ground beef and pork that is simmered for hours to give it its distinctive richness. But what if we told you there was a way to get the same rich flavor but with a lighter touch? Introducing Turkey Bolognese, a delicious take on the traditional that replaces the heavier meats with lean ground turkey and still tastes amazing!

This recipe, inspired by Plays Well With Butter and The Mediterranean Dish, offers a perfect blend of lightness and heartiness, making it ideal for those seeking a healthier alternative without sacrificing flavor The secret lies in a combination of factors:

  • Choosing lean ground turkey: Opt for at least 93% lean ground turkey to mimic the richness of traditional beef and pork.
  • Browning the vegetables well: This step builds the foundation of flavor, adding a depth that rivals the heavier meats.
  • Loading up on aromatics: Garlic, fresh herbs, and parmesan rind infuse the sauce with a symphony of flavor, creating an experience reminiscent of a fine dining Italian restaurant.
  • Using San Marzano tomatoes: These concentrated beauties provide the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, elevating the sauce to new heights.

But wait, there’s more! This recipe is also a champion of time efficiency, coming together in under an hour. Say goodbye to hours-long simmering and hello to a delightful dinner that fits seamlessly into your busy schedule.

The Perfect Pairing: Bucatini Bolognese

No bolognese experience is complete without the perfect pasta partner. Let me introduce you to bucatini, a long, tubular spaghetti that complements the richness of the turkey bolognese sauce with a satisfyingly chewy texture. But worry not, connoisseurs of pasta—tagliatelle, pappardelle, and spaghetti are all welcome additions to this culinary marvel.

Cooking Up a Storm: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ready to embark on your own turkey bolognese adventure? Follow these simple steps and prepare to be amazed:

  1. Brown the soffritto: This flavorful trio of carrots, celery, and onion forms the base of the sauce. Take your time to achieve a deep brown color for maximum flavor.
  2. Add aromatics and deglaze: Infuse the pan with the fragrant magic of garlic and tomato paste, then deglaze with a touch of white wine to release all those delicious browned bits.
  3. Build and simmer the bolognese: Combine San Marzano tomatoes, fresh rosemary and thyme, bay leaves, chicken stock, and a parmesan rind for a symphony of flavor. Simmer partially covered for 15-20 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken and meld.
  4. Finishing touches: Stir in a touch of heavy cream or half & half and grated parmesan to round out the flavors and create a velvety texture.

The Grand Finale: Serving Your Culinary Masterpiece

Now comes the moment you’ve been waiting for: serving your delectable turkey bolognese, Here are some tips for a truly unforgettable experience:

  • Cook the pasta al dente: This ensures the perfect bite and allows the pasta to soak up the rich sauce beautifully.
  • Toss the pasta with the sauce: Don’t just pour the sauce over the pasta. Toss them together to ensure every strand is coated in deliciousness.
  • Simmer and serve: Let the pasta and sauce mingle for a couple of minutes, allowing the flavors to fully integrate.
  • Garnish with love: Sprinkle with grated parmesan, fresh parsley or basil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for an extra kick.

Beyond the Recipe: Tips, Tricks, and Variations

This recipe is just the beginning of your turkey bolognese journey. Here are some additional tips and variations to keep things exciting:

  • Slow Cooker Magic: Make this recipe even more weeknight-friendly by using your slow cooker. Brown the soffritto and turkey on the stovetop for maximum flavor, then transfer everything to the slow cooker and let it do its magic.
  • Make-Ahead Marvel: This sauce is a champion of meal prep. Make a big batch, let it cool completely, and store it in the fridge or freezer for later enjoyment.
  • Freezing for Future Feasts: Freeze your turkey bolognese in individual portions for quick and easy weeknight dinners. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop before tossing with your favorite pasta.

Turkey Bolognese is a versatile, delicious, and simple-to-prepare dish that will quickly become a mainstay in your kitchen. So, gather your ingredients, put on your chef’s hat, and get ready to indulge in a more flavorful and lighter version of a traditional comfort food.

What is Bologense Sauce?

Bolognese sauce, known as ragu alla bolognese, is a rich, slowly cooked meat sauce used with lasagna or other flat pasta shapes like pappardelle or fettuccine (in my opinion, it can go with other pasta options as well.)

The first step in making bologense sauce is to sweat and sauté soffritto, which is onion, celery, and carrots. Traditionally, ground beef or a mixture of beef and pork is added, along with whole milk, white wine, and a small amount of tomatoes or tomato concentrate. Everything is then slowly simmered.

Todays recipe is a lightened up adaptation of Marcella Hazans infamous bolognese sauce, which I understand is the “gold standard.” I used ground turkey and extra virgin olive oil, it was still hearty and rich in texture as should be; and the family loved every bite!

Low and Slow is the Trick to Bolognese

Classic Bolognese sauce does not require unfamiliar ingredients nor any big “cheffy” skills. What it does require though is patience.

Your friend, in order to get the ideal texture—a thick, rich bolognese sauce—you’ll need to work slowly and methodically. This also holds true for our turkey bolognese sauce (don’t worry, I’ll still show you how to make it quickly). ).



What does bolognese mean in cooking?

Bolognese sauce is a classic Italian sauce for pasta made with ground meat such as beef or pork. It’s slow cooked with a soffritto of onions, carrots, and celery, tomatoes, and milk to give it a creamy texture. Pronounced “bow-luh-nez,” the sauce comes from the Bologna region of Italy, hence the name.

What is the difference between meat sauce and Bolognese sauce?

But to me, the biggest difference when compared to the tomato-heavy meat sauce I grew up with, is that Ragù Bolognese uses milk, white wine and notably less tomatoes. The milk tenderizes the meat and mellows out any tart, acidic notes. The flavor is soft, light and slightly sweet! That’s the selling point.

What is Bolognese sauce taste like?

As far as its taste, it will have a meaty heartiness from the browned meats, a sweet tang from the rich tomatoes, as well as an herbal kick from the various Italian spices used. If you’ve ever enjoyed a pasta dish with meat and tomato-based sauce, it was likely a variation of a bolognese recipe.

What is traditional bolognese made from?

Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery, and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of fatty pork.

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