May 2, 2010

Turkey Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash

There is something so comforting about a nice hot plate of pasta. We try to eat healthy in our house, and I have learned how to make so many dishes, and lighten them up, without compromising taste. It is hard sometimes to lighten some things up (like cheesecake, which should never be messed with in my opinion), but there are so many dishes that you can lighten, and you will never even notice a difference. Bolognese sauce (meat sauce) is not usually a heavy dish, but it does usually have ground beef or veal (both which we do not eat in our house).

Whenever a recipe calls for ground beef, I substitute ground turkey or chicken. It is a health choice we made a long time ago, and nobody has complained or even noticed the change. This sauce is not only healthy, but it is very simple to make, and encompasses every aspect of homemade italian you could want.. Instead of serving it over spaghetti, I used spaghetti squash. If you have never tried it, you must give it a chance! 

It is easier to cook than spaghetti (I know right...what could be easier than boiling noodles), and packs in so much more nutrients. If ground turkey is really not your thing, you can always use ground beef, but you should really give ground turkey a try...

Turkey Bolognese over Spaghetti Squash
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis' Simple Bolognese
Although the recipe only calls for your sauce to simmer for 30 minutes, I like to let mine simmer for a couple of hours (I can prep dinner early, and the flavors develop even more!). The veggies all have to be finely minced, and I find it easiest to chop them in my pampered chef food chopper .You can find spaghetti squash in the same area that other winter or summer squash are located. I like to serve it with a nice chopped salad, and a rustic loaf of french bread... 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
a pinch of sugar (it helps balance out the acidity from the tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 spaghetti squash (depending on size), de-seeded, and steamed (directions below)

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until almost smoking (a minute or so). Add the onion and garlic, and saute until the onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Make sure the pan is not too hot, you want the onions tender, not browned. Add the celery and carrot, and saute for another 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the ground turkey, and saute until the meat is no longer pink, breaking up clumps as you go. You want the meat to be finely ground. 

Add the tomatoes, parsley, basil, sugar, salt, pepper, and cook over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, at least 30 minutes (I simmer mine for 1-2 hours). Before serving, stir in the cheese, and serve sauce over squash.

For Spaghetti Squash: Cut squash in half, and scrape out all seeds. Place squash in a ziplock steam bag, (or in your steamer), and steam for 8-9 minutes until fork tender. Let cool for a few seconds, and use a fork to scrape the length of squash and form "spaghetti noodles". 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Missy! I love to use spaghetti squash that way too, I agree it is delicious! I am loving this blog by the way, and wish I could come for a visit! Miss you guys!