Sunday, March 6, 2011

Turkey Ragu alla Bolognese

Do you have several hours to keep an eye on a simmering pot of bolognese? I certainly don't... Even my lazy Sundays are packed to the brim these days, and so they aren't you know, very lazy unfortunately. But, if you're like me and love having hearty yet healthy pasta sauces patiently waiting for you in the freezer, you'll tend to the simmering pot. Or, you cheat.

Enter the slow cooker. Sweat the veggies, brown the meat, dump it in the slower cooker, and press go. Well, turn it to 'low' but you get the picture. You know, I've always wondered if there was a benefit to an oval slow cooker... Bonus #1 that I've noticed- you can pour ingredients more easily from a large skillet to the cooker with a wide opening.

Turkey Ragu alla Bolognese

Serves 8+ (~10 cups of sauce), and freezes great

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 medium celery ribs, chopped fine
3 medium carrots, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped fine
4 ouces pancetta, diced
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (I used dark meat turkey, or you could use 1/2 turkey sausage & 1/2 white meat)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 28-ounce can or Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook until tender and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the veggies from the pan and heat the olive oil in the pan before adding the pancetta. Cook pancetta for about five minutes so it begins to render and then add turkey. Stir and break the turkey into small pieces until the meat has browned, about 15 minutes. Return cooked vegetables to skillet and add tomato paste, wine, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

-Place the cooked vegetables, meat, and tomatoes in the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook on low for about 6 hours, or until thick. Stir in the heavy cream and cook for about 15 minutes more.

Loosely adapted from the Italian Slow Cooker, by Michele Scicolone

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