Turkey Bolognese Sauce

I have found over the years, that people frequently make assumptions about chefs and serious cooks.  One of the more common ones ones being  that the children of cooks and chefs are extraordinarily adventuresome eaters.  That products like foaming cheese substance in a can, pizza flavored “anything,” smiley fast food meals with toys, etc. never grace our childrens’  lips.

Under this theory,  Rick Bayless’s daughter is toting Guajillo Chilaquiles to school instead of a PB&J.  Emeril’s little ones snack on crawfish etouffee instead of microwavable pizza bagels.  And my children are clamoring for seared salmon, warm lentil salad and sauteed swiss chard every night for dinner.  While  I cannot speak for Rick or Emeril, I can say with great certainty at Chef Ann’s household, this couldn’t be further from the truth!   Especially when it comes to my beautiful and wonderfully talented 16-year-old daughter, the one whose culinary adventures rarely extend beyond pickles, pasta, pizza and milk.

Thank God for milk.

And as common to many selective young eaters, there must never EVER be bits.  If you’re a parent, you know what this means.  Tomato sauces must be smooth as silk without a trace of an onion or (heaven forbid) an actual tomato.  Orange juice must be free of any pulp.  Every occurrence of a vegetable or herb will painstakingly be removed to the dismay of her food loving mother.

Enter Bolognese sauce.  That supremely flavorful and seductive sauce with origins in Bologna, Italy.  Traditionally made with a variety of minced meat and vegetables, milk and about as many variations are there are varieties of pasta.  Let’s focus on that word “minced,” shall we?  Minced means chopped into teeny pieces and cooked until they literally melt into the sauce.  And that, in turn, means.  Yes, you guessed:  NO BITS!

My children adore Bolognese sauce and this version surprised me with it’s flavor and complexity.  Bonus feature: using lean ground turkey, low fat cottage cheese and cream cheese, really lightens it up.  Processing the veggies in a food processor saves times.  It’s a win all around.

My daughter would also like to add that it goes great with a side of pickles and milk.

Turkey Bolognese Sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey breast
8oz bulk Italian turkey sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup 2% cottage cheese
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 can (28oz) Italian style diced or crushed tomatoes in juice  (I like Muir Glen brand)
1 cup dry red wine
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp each dried oregano and basil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup low fat cream cheese (also called Neufchatel)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high.  Add ground turkey breast and sausage breaking into smaller chunks; cook until browned.

Process onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor until minced; add to browned meat. Cook vegetables until softened, 5 minutes. Process cottage cheese in food processor until smooth, 2 minutes; stir into meat mixture in pan.

Stir in tomato paste, cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, wine, vinegar, oregano, basil, salt and pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer sauce for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream cheese, stirring until melted, then stir in parsley.  Season to taste and add additional salt or pepper if necessary.  Serve over rigatoni, penne,  or pappardelle.

Makes 7-8 cups sauce

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