Ground Turkey Bolognese

Ground Turkey Bolognese (and two kinds of Minnesota cold…)

A conversation earlier today…

– Hello God.
It’s me. Amy.
So I don’t normally bring stuff like this up, but if there’s any way a snow day is in my future, this week would be a really great time for it.
Sort of could use it, ya know?
– Thanks.

I’m writing this from bed with the vaporizer chugging away and a box of tissues plopped down beside me. On Monday I took my third sick day since I started my full-time job 6 years ago. Friday I take the GRE. Next Monday I start my Master’s program. This week I joined the club of those who stare at that nasty used Kleenex and say “To look? Or not to look? That is the question.”

Turkey Bolognese3

Not that I’m jumping for joy about 40 below temperatures and a school cancellation, but anything that let’s me catch my breath this week (that’s not Vicks or NyQuil!) is a bonus. Yup. It’s just been that shade of ugly around here.

When it comes to busy weeks when we’re not feeling our best, our go-to dish is chicken noodle soup made with a whole broiler-fryer chicken from my parents’ coop. But there are also a few other dishes in our fridge to help us make it through the week: left-over tamales from our Epiphany/New Years dinner last Sunday and a brand new pasta sauce we loved so much we’re not sure how we’ve ever lived without it.

Turkey Bolognese

Now I may offend a few of my “Italian-from-the-East-Side” St. Paul neighbors upset when I share my recipe for ground turkey Bolognese, but I always say what goes in your Dutch Oven is your own business. For me, I was looking for something lighter than the traditional veal and bacon in authentic Italian Bolognese sauce. Enter Ferndale ground turkey instead of beef. I also needed a way to cram some extra veggies into our meals this week so I chopped up extra carrots and celery.

Turkey Bolognese

You’ll also see macaroni noodles in these photos. It’s what happens when you’re not willing to brave the cold weather for a box of penne or a flatter-shapped pasta. Meat sauce loves a wide noodle to really grab hold of. If you’re one of the lucky few Minnesotans who hasn’t contracted this winter’s nasty cold, and if you’re one of the lucky few who are still willing to get out in this other kind of Minnesota cold, grab the ingredients and share this pot of deliciousness with someone who might be a little under the weather.

Turkey Bolognese

Ground Turkey Bolognese

Adapted from “Cooking Light’s The Comfort Food Smackdown” – December 2014


1 teaspoon olive oil
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 can unsalted tomato paste
1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
1/3 cup dry red wine (I love St. Croix Vineyards for this!)
1 quart jar of home-canned tomatoes (use 2 – 14.5 oz. cans of unsalted diced)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound uncooked pasta (try penne or a flatter shaped noodle)

1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add ground turkey, cooking 6-8 minutes until browned and crumbly. Remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and saute 4-5 minutes or until vegetables just begin to soften. Add in tomato paste and stir to evenly coat all of the vegetables.
3. Slowly add in broth and wine, reducing heat if needed to prevent splatter. While mixture comes to a boil, gently scrape the edges of the Dutch oven to pull any tasty bits from the sides and bottom of the pan.
4. Return the turkey to the pot, stir in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour. Set your timer for 20 minute increments, lifting the lid to stir and scrape any parts that may start to stick on the bottom. Stir a total of 3 times.
6. In the last 20 minutes of cooking, boil the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and serve with the finished Bolognese sauce.

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