Lightened Up Bolognese

We love pasta, especially a rich, hearty Bolognese.  This recipe packs all of the flavor and everything you would expect from the traditional recipe.  The good news is the fat is trimmed down significantly since this is made with ground turkey instead of beef and skim milk instead of heavy cream.   I have to admit my favorite part is a good dollop of ricotta cheese on top but grated Parmesan cheese is also delicious.


Lightened Up Bolognese

makes approx 6 servers

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 2 Medium carrots (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1lb ground turkey (99% fat free)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 onion powder
  • 1/2 garlic powder
  • 1/4 crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Ricotta cheese or grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
  • 1lb pound, pasta (hearty variety to stand up to the meat sauce)


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. Saute the onion and carrot until tender, about 5-8 minutes.  Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add the garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste, stirring to coat the vegetables, cook for about a minute.

Add the ground turkey to the pot, season with an additional pinch of salt. Use a wooden spoon to gently break up the meat, and cook until the meat has cooked through, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up any large chunks.

Add the milk, and bring it to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently. Cook until the milk has reduced by about half. Stir in the grated nutmeg.

Add the wine and bring it to a steady simmer. Simmer to reduce the liquid slightly.  Add the diced tomato and all of the juice from the can.  Stir thoroughly to incorporate all of the ingredients. Stir in the thyme, oregano, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and additional pinch of salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to very low so that the sauce is at a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about an hour, stirring occasionally. If the sauce gets too dry as it cooks, add 1/2 cup of water or tomato juice to loosen up the sauce a bit.  Be careful not to add to much as Bolognese is meant to be very hearty. Be sure that all of the additional liquid is fully absorbed before serving.

While the sauce is simmering bring a pot of water (salted) to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

Give the sauce one last taste test and season with additional salt, if needed.

Plate the pasta and top sauce.  Add a dollop of ricotta cheese and grated Parmesan and enjoy.


TIP: Freeze leftover tomato paste in measured portions for future recipes.



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