Meat sauce and pasta is so easy to make. It’s a go-to meal for many families, and ground wild turkey makes a great substitution. I think the best Bolognese sauces are rich and creamy, but with lean turkey, there is little fat to emulsify into sauce. One trick I use to achieve more depth and body is by adding pâté – just enough to be unnoticeable by indiscernible palates but enough to add a subtle gamey taste to the mild turkey. The velvety texture of pâté also rounds out the acidity in the tomato sauce.
If you don’t like liver – well, I say try it anyway. Add just a little bit at a time, and this recipe may surprise you.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- ½ pound ground wild turkey
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or bacon grease)
- 2 small carrots, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 jar marinara or pasta sauce
- 1 to 2 tablespoons prepared liver pâté*
- 4 servings pasta, preferably thick noodles such as tagliatelle, pappardelle or fettuccine
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Flat-leaf parsley, freshly chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
*I prefer to use chicken or pork pâté for its creamy and mild flavor. They are inexpensive and easy to find in cans at the grocery store. You may use other kinds of liver if you’d prefer.
- Over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil (or fat) in a medium saucepan. Add onion and carrot with a pinch of salt, and sweat for about 7 minutes or until onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently. Next add garlic and stir for 1 minute – do not brown. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.
- Bring heat up to medium-high. Add 1 more tablespoon of fat to the saucepan and add ground turkey meat with a pinch of salt. Brown meat and break it up with a wooden spoon. Return cooked vegetables back to the saucepan along with diced tomato and basil. Stir for 1 minute. Pour in marinara sauce and pâté; I used about 2 heaping tablespoons because I like the taste. Bring sauce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Just before the Bolognese sauce is ready, bring a pot of slightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Taste sauce for seasoning. Serve sauce over pasta with freshly chopped parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, cracked pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
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