This Turkey Bolognese Sauce is a thick, delicious, and hearty sauce made with simple ingredients. It’s a healthier take on an authentic recipe, each bite is so rich and flavorful.
Recently, our family did a trip through Northern Italy and it was one the best trips of my life. The food, the culture, the history, the wine, the cheese, the gelato. I think I fell in love with Florence. On our first night there, we went in search of food and found this wonderful Osteria that served the most amazing food! I tried to get cooking classes with the Chef in the kitchen but it is so busy, I don’t think the Chef would have been able to concentrate. Anyways, I was able to get a few recipes from him including his amazing Bolognese sauce.
Now, his original recipe calls for beef and pork. I substituted it with turkey instead. Also, when he gave me his recipe, it was in the style my mother usually does, “A little of this, a pinch of that.” When I came back, I immediately started working on it and sent him a million messages trying to figure out the ratios of the ingredients. I still got, “No, that is too much, a little less. Maybe a touch of this” as part of help for the recipe. Seriously though, the most fun I have ever had!
Below is my Turkey Bolognese sauce (though my chef was a bit scandalized that I replaced the beef/pork with turkey) with the ingredients and their ratios as best as I could get them. I’ve tried them on friends and taught one of my cousins and it turned out pretty amazing each time so I’m going with it. I’ve included the substitution should you decide to use beef/pork instead of the turkey. And if you go to Italy, you can’t miss Florence! Ciao!
Turkey Bolognese Sauce
- 3 Tbsp EVOO
- 1 1/2 med yellow onion, chopped
- 1 c carrots, chopped
- 1 c celery, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 lb ground turkey*
- 1 c whole milk
- 1 c white wine*
- 1 28oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- In a dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add in onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly translucent.
- Add in the carrots and celery and cook for 5-6 minutes until they are tender.
- Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to let it bloom.
- Add in the turkey and break it up with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook it until there are no more pink bits of the meat left.
- Add in the milk and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir the meat occasionally while the milk reduces and thickens.
- Once the milk has mostly evaporated, add in the wine.
- Stir the meat occasionally and let it cook low and slow until the liquid has also evaporated.
- Finally add in the San Marzano tomatoes. Give it a good stir and cook on simmer for 3 hours, covered for the first hour, then uncovered for the following two. Make sure you are stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom.
- **You may need to add water if the sauce is too thick. If so, add 1/4 c of water at a time, mix well, and continue to simmer. Make sure the sauce is not to thin and there should be no water remaining at the end.
- Taste the sauce and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Serve with your favorite pasta. I like to use Pappardelle.
** to subsitute the turkey with beef/pork, use the following ratios:
1/2 lb ground beef (not too lean)
1/2 lb ground pork
**If you prefer not to use wine in the sauce, substitute it with 1 c broth, chicken or vegetable.
Cook's Tip: To achieve the thick and hearty texture of the classic bolognese sauce, it is meant to be cooked low and slow. Do not rush this recipe. Let it take its time.
Make Ahead: I generally like to make the sauce the night before or even two days before. This actually brings out the flavors better. You can even freeze the sauce. Just bring it to a simmer before using it.
One thought on “Turkey Bolognese Sauce”
Such a hearty sauce. Love the flavors and texture. Used the leftovers for a sloppy joe-esque meal for the kids the next day