Sometimes, a cook wants a day off. I recently had a morning of nothingness. It was a day meant for relaxing, watching a movie or a cooking show. Later in the day, I would meet the boyfriend at a coffee shop to go shopping. As much as I love to cook, I didn’t want to spend this rare morning prepping food. Reading one of the cookbooks, I decided to make a Bolognese Meat Sauce. Except this version will use turkey. Starting the sauce is easy, and it requires a few hours of cooking time with the occasional stirring. The sauce is traditionally made with tough cuts of beef and pork and slowly simmered to tenderness.
The prep work is easy (hint: Trader Joe’s sells a start kit of chopped onions, celery and carrots in the produce section). As the sauce slowly simmers on the stove for a couple hours, continue to have a relaxing morning. Watch television. Nap. Read a book. One hour before leaving the house to run errands; turn the stove off and let the sauce cool. Place it in the fridge before leaving the house. Run errands around the city. Come home a few hours later. Reheat the sauce. Proceed with the final steps of the recipe. Cook pasta. In 30 to 45 minutes, enjoy your fast meal.
Bolognese Turkey Meat Sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion
2 carrot, minced
2 celery, minced
¼ cup chopped turkey bacon
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1-1/4 lb. ground turkey
¾ to 1 cup red wine
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 28 or 35 oz can of whole plum tomatoes, chopped (I cheated, I brought canned chopped tomatoes)
1 cup of chicken stock (recommend Whole Food’s or Trader Joe’s low-sodium/organic versions for busy people who don’t have time to make their own stock)
1 cup of fresh chopped basil, divided in half
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup cream
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1. Pre-heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and bacon. Cook for 10 minutes.
2. Add garlic and stir for 30 sec. Add Turkey meat. Break up any clumps. Fully cook meat until done; it’ll take 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice, stock, tomato paste, sugar, wine, red pepper and the first half of the basil. Reduce heat to low and slowly simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Continue to stir occasionally. Sauce will thicken. If you’re lucky to have extra time, add more wine or stock if sauce starts to look dry.
3. Optional step: Let the sauce cool over the stove for an hour. Place in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. Alternatively, put the sauce in a sealed container to place in a freezer for a few weeks, but defrost sauce before reheating. Reheat sauce before continuing to the next step.
4. After the sauce thickens, add cream and cook for an additional 15 to 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally. If needed, add salt and pepper. Add the last half of the basil. Serve the sauce over pasta with freshly grated Parmesan.
5. Enjoy meal during your busy holiday season.