Ground Turkey can be a little bland, I know, but when you spruce it up with tons of great flavors (think red peppers, cumin, red wine, fresh thyme) it can turn into something really great. And that’s just what this Bolognese was.
One of our standby family meals is the Greek version of Bolognese (Makaroni me Kima) in which we cook the ground beef with onion, cinnamon and tomato paste. But I wanted to break out of that mold … and what better way than with some versatile, low-in-fat ground turkey.
So, make this bolognese and you won’t be disappointed … What’s more, you can use just half in the Baked Macaroni recipe that follows and freeze the remainder for future use.
Ground Turkey, Red Pepper and Cumin Bolognese
1 lb. ground turkey
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 red cubanelle peppers, finely diced
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup water
Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and continue to cook for a minute longer. Stir in the olive oil, cumin and red pepper flakes and stir well. Pour in the red wine, bring to a boil and cook for a minute longer. Stir in the tomato paste, water and thyme and simmer, covered for 45 minutes or so.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain the pasta well then toss with the Bolognese. Oil the baking dish and spread half the pasta into it. Top the pasta with more than half of the grated Parmesan then add the remaining pasta over top. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and pour the half & half all around. Top with slices of Provolone and bake in the center of the oven until golden and bubbly, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly (about 5 minutes) and serve.