Turkey Bolognese for Dinner

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Bolognese is a delicious way to stretch a modest amount of meat into a bountiful meal. It is also a host’s dream, as it requires almost no effort and is generally a crowd pleaser.

Because the tomato, garlic, wine and other seasonings add so much flavor, the meat is almost irrelevant, so turkey — or even a vegan meat product — can be used here with little or no pushback from ardent carnivores.

This dish makes a hefty pot, and the quantities can be cut in half or doubled, as your crowd requires. The versatility of this sauce is also a plus — use it as a layer in lasagna, cook it down to a thicker consistency and serve it on rolls as a sloppy joe or stuff it in roasted eggplants; the possibilities are nearly endless.

The ingredients can be easily tweaked per your crowd’s preference — if they hate carrots, ditch ’em. Love onions? Add more. Garlic lovers in the house? Double the quantity. Like a sweeter sauce? Use port instead of red wine. Want a zestier meat flavor? Use bulk turkey sausage in conjunction with, or instead of, the ground turkey.

Traditional Bolognese is often simmered with the rinds of Parmesan cheese and topped with cheese when served; kosher diners can skip this or, if using a plant-based meat product, include those steps. You can stretch the sauce further by adding even more crushed tomatoes if quantity (or meat consumption) is a concern.

This keeps for several days in the fridge and can be frozen in portions for several months — and pulled out when you need a quick dinner.

The salad, with its fresh burst of lemon and sharp crunch from the Brussels sprouts, is the ideal foil to this hearty sauce.

A loaf of crusty bread drizzled with olive oil, rubbed with a cut garlic clove and toasted in the oven makes a divine accompaniment and serves as a scoop to mop up excess sauce.

For dessert, consider fresh bright citrusy flavors to contrast the hearty main dish — lime sorbet, lemon cookies or sponge cake, or orange-chocolate brownies all deliver a nice punctuation mark for this meal.

turkey bolognese
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Turkey Bolognese

Serves 6 generously

The cooking time listed below is the minimum; the sauce can simmer all day if you wish, providing a cozy, warming aroma throughout the house on a winter’s day.

  • 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil, such as canola or vegetable
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried or 3 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley and/or basil, chopped, just before serving

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and sauté the onions, carrots, garlic, pepper flakes, salt and oregano until fragrant, with the onions and carrots beginning to soften, about 6 minutes.

Add the turkey and brown it thoroughly, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and bring it to a boil, then continue cooking, uncovered, and allow it to reduce by half, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.

Add the fresh herbs just before serving.

Lemony Arugula and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Serves 6

This oh-so-simple salad is also delicious with shaved Parmesan; if the rest of the meal is pareve, cheese makes an excellent addition.

  • 1 package baby arugula
  • 1 cup shaved Brussels sprouts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons best-quality olive oil
  • Generous sprinkles of salt and pepper

Toss the arugula and sprouts in a salad bowl.

Spritz them with lemon, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss again.

Serve immediately.

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