Pastas/Noodles · Poultry

Turkey Bolognese Ragu with Pappardelle

Turkey Bolognese Ragu with Pappardelle

I love a great Bolognese. There’s something about that rich sauce over thick noodles that is just so darn good. Let’s not forget to mention that you can sneak a fair amount of veggies into the sauce from the “trito”—and we all can use a little more veggies in our tummies.

For this Bolognese, I followed a cooking method laid out by Cook’s Illustrated but took my own spin for the ingredients. And before I get scolded, I will wholeheartedly admit that this Bolognese Ragu is far from traditional. I used ground turkey meat as the base of the sauce and substituted the pancetta for spicy Italian sausage. Why Italian sausage? Well, I needed to some fat in the dish since the turkey was so lean…..and I just love the flavor of a good spicy Italian sausage. I’ve also added several herbs and tomato paste—something you don’t find in most traditional Bolognese recipes.

However, the key to any great Bolognese comes down to a low heat and slow cooking time of the sauce. We’re talking at least 3 hours—so it’s definitely a dish you shouldn’t try and whip together. And it’s because of this slow cooking that makes the sauce utterly rich and meaty.

It’s also important to chop the veggies quite fine so that it can break down into the sauce. But you can just throw them into a food processor if you don’t want to fuss with the chopping. As for me, I’m often too lazy to wash my Cuisinart and I find something oddly therapeutic about chopping veggies and practicing my knife skills. 🙂

And best yet– Not only is this Bolognese Ragu so heartily yummy, it also freezes really well—–So be sure to make a double batch next time!

Turkey Bolognese Ragu with Pappardelle



Turkey Bolognese Ragu with Pappardelle
Serves 4


1 Pound Ground Turkey
¼ Pound Spicy Italian Sausage
1 Cup White Onion, finely minced
1 Cup Celery, finely minced
1 Cup Carrots, finely minced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely minced
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Teaspoon Dried Red Chili Flakes (or less depending on your heat preference)
2 Dried Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 Cup Lowfat Milk
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 Pound Pappardelle, cooked
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute until softened but not browned. Add chili flakes and sauté for an additional minute. Add turkey, Italian sausage, and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces.  Once the meat is no longer pink, add thyme and bay leaves. Add tomato paste and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the milk has evaporated and only clear juices remain—about 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering until all the wine has evaporated—about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes with its juices and bring to a boil, then place the heat at the lowest setting. Continue on this very low simmer for 2 – 2 ½ hours, stirring every 20 minutes until you get a rich, thick meaty sauce. Check for seasonings and add kosher salt and pepper accordingly.

Toss the cooked pappardelle in Bolognese sauce and serve topped with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with Italian parsley and Enjoy!

Beef · Pastas/Noodles

Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle

Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle

The kitchen is a perfectly acceptable place for Do-Overs. You know, a chance to go back and remake/retry a dish.

When I first made Bobby Flay’s Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle, I was quite happy with the results. It was hearty and savory–comforting for the chillier months. There were, however, a few things that I wanted to change the next time I made it. And it was because of this that I called a “Do-Over“!

A few things that I did that I truly believe are a MUST include:

  • Constant skimming of the fat and oil
  • Addition of Red Chili Flakes
  • Shredding of the cooked meat to remove extra fat & gristle
  • Substituting Beef Broth for the Port

This recipe is not difficult to make but it does take time—especially with the extra steps I added (and trust me, those added steps were worth it). But once it’s in the oven for those 3+ hours, your house will be filled with such a lovely aroma that it’ll make you forget how much time you spent browning the ribs and chopping all of the mirepoix. 🙂

And on a random note, does any one else experience challenges when trying to snap photos in poor lighting, when you don’t want to use a flash, and when you need to do it quickly so that the food doesn’t become stone cold? My last few photos have suffered such issues and I debated on even posting the photos. But alas, photos are a better illustration than my words alone so they were included–overly yellow/orange cast and all.  Oh the trials of being a novice photographer…. 🙂


Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle
Adapted from Bobby Flay
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
4 Pounds Short Ribs, each about 2-inches long, cut flanken style, across the ribs
Salt and freshly Ground Pepper
2 Dried Bay Leaf
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 Sprigs Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
4 Small Carrots, diced
2 Stalks Celery, diced
1 Medium Onion, diced
2 Medium Shallots, diced
½ Teaspoon Red Chili Flake
1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Cups Red Wine
½ Head Garlic, cloves separated and peeled
4 Cups Homemade Beef Stock
1 Pound Pappardelle
Chopped Parsley
Grated Pecorino Romano, for garnish


Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place a 5-quart casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil, and heat until it is almost smoking. Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary, add short ribs to the hot oil. Cook ribs until browned on both sides. Remove ribs from casserole, and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare bouquet garni: Place bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and parsley in the center of a square of cheesecloth. Bring edges together, and tie with kitchen string. Set bouquet garni aside.

Add carrots, celery, onion, and shallots to oil in the casserole, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Add chili flakes and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste to the casserole, and stir to combine. Add ½ cup beef broth; stir with wooden spoon until all browned bits have been scraped from the pan and the bottom of the casserole is clean. Add red wine, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Skim off any grease and discard. Add garlic, remaining beef stock, and the reserved bouquet garni.

Return browned ribs to the casserole. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat. Skim off any grease and discard. Cover the casserole, and place it in the oven. Cook until ribs are very tender, about 3 hours.

Remove the cooked ribs from the casserole. Set the casserole on the stove top over medium heat, and simmer to thicken sauce just slightly. As soon as the short ribs are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, and shred into small pieces. Degrease the sauce and discard the bouquet garni. Return shredded meat to casserole, and simmer to reduce sauce by about half. Check seasonings and add salt/pepper if necessary.

Fill a large pot with water and add a few tablespoons of salt. Set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Salt well, and stir in pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta, and serve with short-rib ragu, sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with freshly grated Percorino Romano .

Beef · Pastas/Noodles

Breaking in the New Dutch Oven with a Short Ribs Ragu

I have dreamed of having my very own Le Creuset Dutch Oven for a long time. And for a “long time”, I mean longer than I even knew what it really was or how fabulous they really were. I think the first memories I could recall of it was back in the day when “The Frugal Gourmet” had one on his stove in the 80’s. And although as a kid I thought it was just a “pretty pot”, I knew I wanted one when I grew up.

As I grew older and found out how much they actually cost, I could not bring myself to buy one. This is not to say that I didn’t think it was worth it but a few hundred bucks is pretty steep! Alas, I had to be content to utilize my siblings’ when the chance arose.  🙂

But this past Christmas…my Culinary Life changed when my awesome sister gave my boyfriend and I a gorgeous 7.25 quart round Dutch Oven. I squealed in delight as I hugged our new beauty—finally, we had one of our very own. Dreamy.

Then the next question arose….what were we going to make to break in our new dutch oven??? As silly as this may sound, I wanted a recipe that would require us to utilize as many components of the pot as we could—searing, braising, roasting, sautéing, etc. Heck, it was the first time we would be using it after all! 🙂

I finally settled upon a recipe by Bobby Flay for a Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle. Although I have NEVER been a fan of how Bobby Flay portrays himself on television, his food more times than not, looks delish.

We followed the recipe with the exceptions a few edits and were happy to find that it was pretty simple (although somewhat laborious and lengthy). The end results? D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. The ribs were succulent and tender with the aromatics giving the meat a rich flavor.

A few things about our take on the dish:

  1. We omitted the Port & substituted with beef stock. Ruby Port is often too sweet for me in my savory dishes.
  2. We decided not to remove the beef from the bones and served it directly over the pasta. Next time, I think we’ll do it though to get rid of some of the excess gristle and fat.
  3. Although the recipe doesn’t state to, season with extra salt and pepper before dishing over the pasta. My “Better Half” thinks a bit of heat would complement the dish. Perhaps some red chili flakes?
  4. This recipe could easily serve 6 adults.
  5. We had the leftovers a few days later and served the ribs over mashed potatoes—YUM!

I would definitely recommend this recipe and will make it again (with a few tweaks). If you’re planning on tackling this one, keep in mind–it needs at least 3 hours in the oven for the ribs to get tender. It’s okay though, time goes by quickly if you have a snackie and a glass of vino. 🙂




Heavily season the Short Ribs with fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt.

Browning the ribs. The more brown bits the better! 🙂

Browned Ribs = Tons of flavor! 🙂

Cooking down the Shallots and Mirepoix

Short Ribs back in with the liquids & bouquet garni and ready to be put in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours. Yup, I said THREE! 🙂

The finished Short Ribs (with bone -in) over Pappardelle. Garnished with Pecorino Romano and Flat Leaf Parsley.

Did I mention how much I LOVE our new Dutch Oven! And yes, it really does make a difference! 🙂