I must say Pasta is probably my most favorite food to eat. Bolognese sauce is one of my most favorites and this is my easy version. There are different variations of this recipe that I use. One is with beef and pork sausage, another is dark meat turkey with turkey or chicken sausage. I do use dark meat turkey because I think it is much more flavorful, it is ideal but if you really don’t want to use the dark meat use 1/2 white and 1/2 dark or all white meat it’s up to you . The only negative to this sauce is that it really needs 3- 4 hours for the sauce to cook down and if you want to shorten the simmer use crushed tomatoes and probably 2 hours would be fine. The longer the sauce cooks the more flavorful it will be. This sauce would probably serve 4 nicely with 1 lb. of pasta. You can easily double it and freeze the leftover sauce. So nice to have it in the freezer and just have to make the pasta and you have a wonderful homemade meal. I have now started serving the sauce over shredded zucchini as well. It is so delicious and you may feel a little bit better eating it over zucchini or spaghetti squash than noodles. Pasta or Vegetable it’s pretty awesome. Look on my blog for Zucchini Bolognese. And it freezes beautifully.
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil, plus more if necessary
1- 1 1/2 lbs. Italian style Turkey or Chicken Sausage, removed from casings. You can also mix in hot or sweet Italian pork sausage if you don’t mind using the pork. I think the pork has the best flavor — just saying
1 1/2 pounds ground Turkey ( I used dark meat ) or 1 lb. ground beef — I don’t love to cook with the lean version because it’s very dry so if using any ground meat use 85/15 at least.
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced ( app. 2 cups)
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juice or you can used diced tomatoes which break down much quicker but you’ll definitely be adding liquid to that. Just keep an eye on it. If you’re in a real hurry and don’t have time for a 4 hour simmer use 2 cans of crushed tomatoes.
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 box. Rigatoni ( or any other macaroni you like ) or spaghetti or if you like use *shredded zucchini or *spaghetti squash
Grated Parmesan Cheese for serving
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy pan over medium high heat. ( I use my Le Creuset ) Add the sausage meat and break it up as it cooks, turning now and then, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside, add the ground turkey to the pan along with a good pinch of salt and a few fresh grind of pepper. Cook the meat stirring here and there, for 10 minutes as well, till meat is nicely browned. I remove and put in bowl with the sausage which was set aside. Add another 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Cook until onion breaks down and gets soft, another good 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice along with 1/2 cup of water. ( You may need more water as you go) Add the sausage and ground turkey, stir the sauce well. Bring the sauce to a boil, season to taste with salt and pepper and turn the heat to low. Cover almost completely with a lid (allowing a little steam to escape) and gently simmer for 4 hours. You may want to add splashes of water if sauce is drying out. After 2 hours I added the 1/3 cup of Tomato Paste, and replace lid and continue simmering for 2 more hours. I added water as it cooked, you’ll have to judge for yourself how much water you add. I added 1/4 cup at a time. The longer this sauce cooks for the better it is. You will have to continually stir and check for water which I do at least once an hour if not more often. Also a splash of red wine works well here too if you have an open bottle of a medium dry red wine — chianti or malbec or pinot — you know what I mean.
When the sauce is ready for serving, bring a large pot of water and prepare pasta according to package directions. You may want to reserve a little pasta water if you still need to thin it out.
serve with sauce over the rigatoni ( or any pasta you like) with a nice grating of Parmesan.
*so many stores now sell zucchini already shredded and it’s dry and ready to go.