Things have been really busy on the work front recently. I’ve been staying up nights and coming home starving so I really wanted a recipe I could make a large batch of, store for a week, and have enough protein to carry me through the night. Pasta is an easy answer for this, as any college student will tell you…but I’ve never been dedicated enough to make my own sauce before. Enter: the Really Simple Turkey Meat Sauce recipe!
This sauce recipe is great because it has everything you need for the basic, well-rounded meal (you can even throw in more veg if you want to boost the health factor) without the hassle. During times like this, I need a can-cook-it-in-my-sleep kind of meal since I’m more zombie than human anyway and certainly don’t have any patience. I’ve adapted the source recipe to use my ground turkey meat instead of the traditional ground beef simply because I like the taste better.
Really Simple Turkey Meat Sauce (adapted from Eating Well, December 2010)
1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti (I ended up using linguini)
2 t EVOO
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Italian seasoning (I used a mix of oregano, thyme, and basil)
1 lb. lean ground turkey meat
1 28 oz. can peeled whole or crushed tomatoes
¼ C chopped parsley
½ t salt
½ C grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender and drain (about 8 minutes).
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook – stirring occasionally – for 5 minutes or so or until the onion begins to brown.
- Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then, add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon or wooden spatula for 3 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Now, if you’re like me, you’ll need to transfer the contents of the skillet to a medium-sized sauce pan for the next step. I do not have a skillet large enough to contain the added tomatoes.
- Increase heat to High and stir in tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes use a potato masher or fork to mush them up in the mixture (this will also help break up any larger bits of meat). Cook until sauce thickens – about 6 minutes. Stir in parsley and salt. Serve sauce over pasta and top with the cheese.
For being as simple as it is, this sauce is very good! I ended up being right about the tomato paste, though; without it the sauce is much more watery and runny than it otherwise would have been. Since the source recipe used beef, I can’t be absolutely sure the original recipe would have turned out as watery, but I can’t see ground beef adding that much more viscosity. The turkey meat makes for a lighter dish either way and so I think a quarter Cup of tomato paste would have thickened the sauce up well without making it too heavy. If you want to thicken up the sauce just a tad without the tomato paste, you could always melt in some of your grated cheese at the end. I did that and liked the results.
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥