This turkey bologense sauce is a lightened up version of the beloved Italian classic, but it is every bit as thick, delicious and hearty. Be sure to view the step-by-step tutorial above and review the recipe notes for tips and shortcut options.
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Greek Private Reserve)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 small carrots, chopped
- 3/4 lb ground turkey (or lean ground beef, if you prefer)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup/ 250 ml whole milk
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 7 whole canned plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cup), cut up
- In a heavy saucepan, add extra virgin olive oil and onions. Heat on medium. Cook and stir the onions until translucent about 5 minutes, then add celery and carrots. Cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add ground turkey (or lean ground beef, if you prefer). Add a large pinch kosher salt and ground black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up the meat. Stir well until meat is no longer raw and it loses its red color.
- Add milk and let it come to a gentle simmer. Stir frequently until milk has completely bubbled away. Stir in nutmeg.
- Add wine and let it simmer until it has completely evaporated, then stir in the plum tomatoes.
- Once tomatoes come to a gentle bubble, turn heat down to a very low simmer. Cook sauce, uncovered, for 3 hours or so.
- IMPORTANT: occasionally check if you need to add a little liquid to the sauce. If it looks dry or starts to stick, you can add about 1/2 cup of liquid (water or some of tomato water from your plum tomato can.) At the end, there should be no water remaining.
- Taste the bolognese sauce and correct for salt.
- Toss with your favorite cooked and drained pasta with a side of Parmesan.
- Cook’s Tip: Classic Bologense sauce uses ground beef and butter, this turkey bolognese is a lightened up version. If you like, use ground beef. And in place of 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, use 3 tbsp of butter.
- Cook’s Tip: To achieve the best texture, thick and hearty bolognese, do not rush the cooking. Bolognese is meant to cook low and slow.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can make this sauce a night or two ahead and refrigerate, or even a couple of weeks ahead, in which case, you need to freeze it. Cool the sauce completely, then transfer it to a container and refrigerate or freeze for future use. Bring the sauce to a simmer before using.
- Short Cut: If you are really in a pinch, you can try this shortcut to bologense using store-bought maranira sauce. I adapted this from Giada De Laurentiis. It’s tasty and works well, but don’t expect the same results as far as authentic flavor and texture, of course. Follow step #1 as written. In step #2, once you add the meat, cook for about 1 minute. Add marinara sauce. Bring heat to medium-low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly to allow flavors to meld. Toss with your favorite pasta!
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- Category: Entree/Meat and Poultry
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Bolognese, How to Make Bologense, Turkey Bolognese, Easy Bologense Sauce