Quick Turkey Ragu: an easy recipe for rich tomatoey Italian meat sauce, made with ground turkey.
Does anyone else eat meat sauce with a spoon? (standing in front of the fridge, cold, out of the pot...?) A good Italian meat sauce is totally irresistible to me. Nothing excites the dinner table quite like rich, silky ragu alla bolognese over pasta. It's the star of Italian meat sauces and, in my opinion, one of the world's most delicious dishes.
But have you ever tried cooking bolognese from scratch? It requires several stages of preparation and 3 or more hours of simmering. It also packs a good amount of fat and calories. Don't get me wrong. I think it's totally worth the the time and effort (and calories) to cook authentic ragu alla bolognese for a special occasion.
But for those of us who crave delicious ragu often and always, there has to be another way. So here you go - a quick turkey ragu recipe, healthy enough and easy enough for weeknight dinner, delicious enough for any occasion.
This recipe starts with a simple, 4-ingredient tomato sauce or, to make it even faster, use your favorite store-bought marinara.
Ground turkey doesn't have a ton of flavor on its own. But after it simmers with shallots and garlic and wine-scented tomato sauce, it's so rich and tasty, you might even forget it's turkey and think you're eating 'beefy' meat sauce.
How To Make Quick Turkey Ragu
First you make a simple tomato sauce from scratch: sauté garlic, onions, red pepper flakes and canned tomatoes. It only takes about 15 minutes. By the way, if you're pressed for time, you can skip this step and substitute 4 cups of your favorite store-bought marinara. (I recommend Rao's Marinara)
While the tomato sauce is simmering, sauté the ground turkey with shallots and more garlic in a skillet. Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes to reduce the wine and intensify the flavors. Combine the turkey-wine mixture with the tomato sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes and voila!There are many options for how to serve turkey ragu, depending on your mood or dietary preferences. Go traditional and serve it over your favorite pasta. If you prefer to dine gluten-free, turkey ragu is delicious with roasted spaghetti squash or zoodles.
One night I had a non-turkey eater and a non-gluten eater at my house for dinner. I made two pots of ragu, one beef - one turkey. I offered a choice of spaghetti squash or wagon wheels (my son Paul's favorite pasta). Gotta please everyone! (iPhone photo below)
While we're on the topic of delicious, healthier recipes made with ground turkey, here are a few more great ones:
- Italian Style Turkey Meatballs. (the secret ingredient is grated sweet potato)
- Sicilian Turkey Meatloaf (mixed with mashed potatoes instead of bread crumbs)
- Turkey Zucchini Meatballs (with Lemony Yogurt Sauce, from chef Ottolenghi)
- Turkey Falafel Meatballs (with Lemon Yogurt Sauce.
- And now here's the recipe for Quick Turkey Ragu. As always, I'm hoping that if you cook this, you'll come back to leave a comment and a star rating. I'd love to know what you think.
- If you're a fan of ragu, here's another light and delicious ragu recipe from Cooking Light that you can make it your slow cooker.