Life’s not fair. We can’t all have Italian grandmas. But we can have this. ↓↓↓
When I was growing up, several of my friends were lucky enough to have Italian grandmas who cooked all day on Sunday and then had the whole family over for a feast of lasagna, baked ziti, and pasta with ragù, all washed down with garlic bread. I was super jealous. I never met my dad’s mom (she died long before I was born), and she wasn’t Italian anyway. My other grandmother lived far away, and while I loved her, she wasn’t exactly famous for her kitchen skills. Once, when my parents went away for a week, she fed me a raw hot dog.
So when it comes to Italian home cooking, I’ve mostly had to DIY it. Before Owen was born, I used to make Frankie’s slow-simmered meatballs and tomato sauce all the time. On special occasions, I made risotto. But now with a three-year old, I just don’t have that kind of time!
That’s why I’m so in ? with this healthy slow cooker turkey bolognese. It takes about 15 minutes of prep, and they payoff is a rich, meaty sauce that tastes like I spent the whole weekend in the kitchen.
The first night we had this sauce I thought it was really yummy, but what I loved most about it was the fact that Owen gobbled it up. (Any recipe my whole family will eat is a major win in my book.) But a few days later we had the leftovers and they were a-MAZ-ing. The flavors really blended and improved after sitting for a couple of days in the fridge.
This is a perfect recipe to throw together on a Sunday morning, let it cook all day, enjoy for dinner and then have the leftovers later in the week. I said it served four but it’s really enough for dinner twice, if you are feeding two adults and two kids.
Oh, and if you serve it over zucchini noodles as pictured here, you can have a ginormous bowl for less than 400 calories. I bet you can’t say that about your grandma’s.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic and sauté until tender and the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Scrape the vegetable mixture into a slow cooker.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat (no need to clean it first). Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Scrape the turkey into the slow cooker.
- Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl and, using clean hands, break the tomatoes into large bite-sized chunks. Add the tomatoes and juices to the slow cooker, along with the wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if using). Give everything a quick stir. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Remove the lid and cook for 1 to 2 hours more, until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the cream.