This was my first time making bolognese at home, and dang, it made me realize that it is high time to start expanding my horizons in the kitchen. Bolognese is just too easy and too good not to have made before.
Bolognese is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. As the sauce simmers on the stove, the strong notes of red wine and tomato complement the already unctuous smell of meat. The ultimate meal for these dog days of winter…
I chose to follow Jackie Newgent’s recipe, which uses ground turkey instead of the traditional ground beef. She also adds in some green tea and orange juice to replace some of the traditionally heavier bolognese ingredients like cream. These help build a more complex flavor without weighing the sauce down.
Jackie Newgent is a classically trained chef, registered dietitian, cookbook author, and media personality. Her latest book is full of quick, healthy recipes that “focus on filling ingredients with a contemporary edge.” I have had the pleasure of meeting Jackie in person and corresponding with her through email and social media. She is the nicest person, who truly understands the meaning of good food.
I purchased my ground turkey from Di Paola Turkey Farm. They have a stand at the Columbia farmer’s market (in NYC) every Sunday. I also threw in some mushrooms that I had on-hand from Madura Farms (based in Orange County, NY). Mushrooms go great with tomatoes and meat. I won’t go into detail here, but it involves glutamates and nucleotides…check out this interview with the editors of the newest Cooks Illustrated Cookbook to learn more…
Rigatoni Bolognese (with ground turkey)
**This made a LOT of sauce; but it was great for leftovers for the next few days…probably got about 8 servings worth??
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 garlics cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 jar marina sauce or 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup unsweetened green tea (or water)
Add ons: fresh parsley, chopped + Parmesan + black pepper
1. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook, stirring until fully cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a plate.
2. Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the onion, mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of the wine, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and dried oregano and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the remaining wine, scrape up any browned bits in the pan, and cook while stirring for 1 minute.
3. Return the turkey to the skillet and add the marinara, orange juice, green tea, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt.
4. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 25 minutes. While the bolognese simmers, get your rigatoni boiling.
5. Once your pasta is done cooking, spoon some bolognese over the noodles, adding fresh chopped parsley and some Parmesan cheese.