Turkey Bolognese

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Enough for 2 pounds of pasta (8 servings) Medium
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Ingredients (13)

  • 10 ounces salt pork, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely diced carrot
  • 2/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 10 tablespoons chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste


Bolognese, a.k.a. ragú Bolognese, is a slow-simmered sauce that turns patience and ground meat into the richest-tasting, concentrated, and most deeply satisfying of Italian pasta dishes. We give it a lighter twist here by substituting lean ground turkey for the traditional ground meats (often a combination of veal and pork), but the method is the same: start by rendering salt pork, add the hallowed trio of Italian aromatic vegetables (carrot, celery, and onion), and turkey. Except for a bit of tomato paste dissolved in chicken stock, a splash of white wine, and patient additions of milk through the 2-hour cooking time, this recipe essentially produces its own liquid as it cooks. Stirring in a bit of reduced cream at the end reinforces the lovely long-cooked texture.

For more, check out our Ragu alla Bolognese, Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese, and Slow Cooker Beef Goulash.


  1. 1Add the salt pork to a heavy a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over low heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until almost all the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat (reserve the rest for another use). Add the carrot, celery, and onion, stir to combine, and sweat slowly until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent, 10 to 12 minutes.Add the turkey and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Stir in the white wine.
  2. 2In a small bowl, stir the tomato paste into the chicken stock until it dissolves; add it to the turkey mixture and reduce the heat as low as possible. Partially cover the pan (leave the lid slightly ajar) and simmer 2 hours. From time to time, stir in a few tablespoons of milk—by the end of the cooking time, all the milk should be used up and the sauce should only be slightly liquid.
  3. 3Meanwhile, add the heavy cream to a small, heavy saucepan and heat gently over low heat. When it comes to the boil, reduce the heat so it simmers gently. Reduce by about three-quarters—you should end up with about 6 tablespoons.
  4. 4When the sauce is cooked, stir in the reduced cream. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and a small amount of nutmeg. Toss immediately with freshly cooked tagliatelle, or cool, cover, and store in the fridge up to 3 days.
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