Baked Macaroni with a Ground Turkey, Red Pepper and Cumin Bolognese

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. 

**Note: I made this bolognese and used half over linguine for the family dinner one weekday and froze the other half in air-tight container for 10 days until I used it in this Baked Macaroni dish.
 For the Baked Macaroni with Ground Turkey, Red Pepper and Cumin Bolognese

1 lb. elbow macaroni
1/2 batch of the Ground Turkey, Red Pepper and Cumin Bolognese
Olive oil, for greasing baking dish
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup half & half
Provolone (I used 6 thinly-sliced rounds of provolone)

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.

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5 Responses to “Baked Macaroni with a Ground Turkey, Red Pepper and Cumin Bolognese”

  1. Cherine says:

    your macaroni looks extremely yummy!

  2. your lovely hubby!!! says:

    it actually tastes as good as it looks:)

  3. Ben says:

    Baked pasta is my favorite. I like the spices and peppers you used for this maccaroni, I bet it was delicious.

  4. I must admit I’m not a fan of ground turkey…I always associate it with “bland”. However, I love what you have made today with it Maria…def a winner with those spices.

  5. Not a fan of the ground turkey either, but I would totally dive into your preparation of it. I miss the great bake pastas of Greece!

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