Super Quick Turkey Ragu

This is, hands down, my favorite pasta sauce on planet Earth (I'm sorry, Ellen. Yours will be always be the OG, but I've evolved). You can eat this with regular noodles, of course, but for a healthier option, I'll make this on a Monday and eat it with zucchini noodles all week long. It also has strong staying power when frozen. Absolutely delicious stuff!

Super Quick Turkey Ragu by Panning the Globe


  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can of good quality tomato puree (I use Muir Glen Organic or San Marzano)
  • 4 tablespoons good quality tomato paste (half of a 6-ounce can)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2-3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1½ pounds ground turkey. I have a slight preference for dark meat, but light works too. (ground beef or lamb are great too!)
  • 1 cup of good dry red wine. Good choices are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, or Zinfandel.
  • Optional Garnishes:
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese (I recommend Parmigiana Reggiano)
  • Fresh basil leaves, slivered or chopped


  1. Make The Tomato Sauce: Heat ¼ cup oil over medium heat, in a heavy pot or Dutch oven, with a lid. Add onions and red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, to soften the onions. Add 1 tablespoon garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until fragrant (don't let it brown). Add tomato puree, tomato paste, water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and immediately lower to a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot to prevent sputtering. Simmer sauce for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Brown The Turkey: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped shallots and sauté, stirring often, for one minute. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of garlic and sauté, stirring, for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the turkey and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the turkey has lost all of it's pink color. If there's lots of liquid in the pot, cook for an additional minute to evaporate some of the liquid. Pour in the wine and simmer on medium-low for 5 minutes, until the wine is reduced by about half. Transfer the meat-wine mixture to the sauce pot and stir through. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer. Cook the meat sauce, partially covered, for 10 minutes to combine flavors.
  3. To Serve: Serve sauce over pasta, spaghetti squash, or zoodles

Serves 5

Emma GoldenComment