Turkey Bolognese

Turkey Bolognese in a bowl with basil garnish

The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Bolognese sauce is an Italian meat-based sauce originating from the city of Bologna. It is typically used to dress tagliatelle pasta. The classic ingredients include onion, celery, carrot, and beef, along with wine and tomatoes. This recipe is a twist on the classic dish and uses ground turkey in place of the ground beef.

In order to maintain the rich and hearty flavors of the original, chopped mushrooms are added. A dry red wine is used to deglaze the pan after cooking the turkey and vegetables to infuse even more flavor into every bite. Tomato paste adds extra richness and beautiful color to the dish as well. The sauce only needs to simmer for about 30 minutes to thicken and for the flavors to combine, which is just enough time to boil your favorite long-noodle pasta and set the table for dinner.

Enjoy with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top and garnish with fresh basil for a burst of flavor and color. Since you will already be using one cup of red wine in the recipe, why not serve the rest of the bottle with dinner. Choose an Italian dry red wine from the same region for a restaurant-style experience right in your own home. Round out the meal with warm and crusty Italian bread and a lightly dressed salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cup onions (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound ground turkey 
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 pound tagliatelle or pappardelle pasta
  • Garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish: fresh basil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Turkey Bolognese

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

    Onions and olive oil in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Stir in the minced garlic and Italian seasoning; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

    Minced garlic and seasoning added to onions for turkey Bolognese

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Add the turkey, chopped mushrooms, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook, crumbling the turkey with a wooden spoon and stirring, until it is no longer pink and the mushrooms are cooked, about 10 minutes.

    Turkey, mushrooms, salt, and pepper added to pot for turkey Bolognese

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, stirring to combine.

    Deglazed pan with red wine for turkey Bolognese

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 30 minutes.

    Tomato paste and sauce added to turkey Bolognese

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to package directions. When the turkey Bolognese has thickened and is ready to serve, stir in the fresh parsley.

    Parsley added to pot with turkey Bolognese

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil to serve. Enjoy!

    Tagliatelle pasta added to turkey Bolognese

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

How to Store Turkey Bolognese

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.