This recipe for Italian turkey ragu with pasta is wonderfully easy and great for beginner cooks. Not only is it great for beginners, it is also perfect for any weeknight meal or date night. This recipe is so versatile and absolutely delicious and on the lighter side. I don’t cook rich heavy foods all the time ( all of the recipes that I share here or on my channel I cook and serve my family) I do cook lighter more healthy style foods. Food is so versatile and different around the world. Besides asian cuisine, Italian food is a very close second in my recipe collection.
This turkey ragu recipe is a take on my grandmothers traditional beef ragu. Although the beef ragu is beautifully delicious in it’s own right, I have to have a lighter version. I can not eat such rich dishes all the time and that is why I make lighter versions. Are they 100% healthy? of course not. Are they healthier than most? of course. It never hurts to have the really rich dishes occasionally. So today, I am sharing this lighter version with you.
Let’s get started.
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion – finely chopped
1 carrot- finely chopped
3 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 cup chicken broth or red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp fresh thyme – you can use dry (1 tsp)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary – you can use dry (1 tsp)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh basil – torn
1 lb penne pasta
1/4 cup parmesan cheese – freshly grated ( you can use the canned stuff if that is what you have on hand)
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet over med-low heat, add the oil, onion and carrot. Stir and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Not to much. Cook until the onion and carrots are tender. About 5 minutes.
- Add the ground turkey and crumble. Cook the turkey until the turkey is completely cooked through and crumbled. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes. You should not have to drain as turkey is quite a lean meat.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until slightly fragrant and you can smell the garlic.
- Add the tomato paste and mix into the mixture really well. It will be thick. Cook for 1 minute just to help loosen the tomato paste. Add the thyme and rosemary and stir to combine.
- Add in the chicken broth ( or wine) and beef broth and stir to combine. Add a bit more salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. When the mixture starts to bubble turn the heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the consistency you like. I like mine to be thicker than a sauce but not to thick so I can mix it with the pasta well.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a bit of salt to the water and the pasta. Stir to prevent sticking and clumping. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.
- When the ragu is where you want it add in the pasta, parm, and basil. Toss to coat well in the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Always start out with a little bit of salt and pepper and you can always add more later.
- Pour into a serving tray or dish and serve.
- If you don’t want or have ground turkey you can always use ground chicken, pork, or beef. They will work just fine. You will have a different taste to the dish depending on the type of meat you use but they are equally just as delicious.
- If you don’t want to use meat you can use tofu crumbles. I have done this on occasion. It is a completely different taste and texture but it works just as well. I do have those days where I just don’t want to eat meat… Shocker, I know. lol. You can also use the beyond meat as well. I have not tried it per se, however, I am sure it will work just as good. If I ever get it or find it at a store near me, I will definitely give it a try.
- You can use any small pasta you have on hand. Like rigatoni, penne or ziti. They all work great and I have used them in this dish.