Spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family with this quick Penne with Turkey Ragu recipe!
Remember my last post where I said pasta recipes come to the rescue with busy school days? Oh yes, I have needed them desperately and we’re barely a month into the school year. My big kids (9 and 10) started soccer and both of them have practice twice a week – Tuesdays and Fridays.
So pasta recipe to the rescue once again!
I’m always tempted to make spaghetti when I can’t think of a pasta dish to make. I am that mom who doesn’t know the proper amount of spaghetti to measure out for four people to eat (because my toddler will not eat anything messy or “wet” looking, including noodles). When spaghetti is on the menu, I always make an absurd amount of pasta and buy an extra jar of sauce to make myself lunch for the week. Unlike me, my husband gets sick of eating the same thing, so I have learned to compromise by making things that are very similar to spaghetti.
This Turkey Ragu recipe is similar to spaghetti. But what I really love about it is that it is a healthy alternative to spaghetti with veggies and ground turkey.
The sauce is created from a can of tomatoes and seasonings, and turns out so wonderfully delicious. I personally love the addition of leeks and they have a very mild flavor, so my kids have never complained about a strange vegetable turning up in their food.
This Penne with Turkey Ragu is ready in under 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for those days where you really don’t feel like cooking.
What you need:
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks (only the white and light green parts), chopped
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus some
- 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 oz. penne pasta
- 2 Tbsp. half-and-half
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water when you drain it.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
- Add leeks and turkey and cook until the turkey is slightly browned.
- Then add garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add tomatoes, two cups water, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Increase heat to high, bring to a boil, and cook for five minutes.
- Then reduce heat to medium. Add half of the basil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add half-and-half, remaining half of the basil, and two Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese to the sauce.
- Finally, add drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. If needed, add some reserved pasta water to loosen up.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with remaining Parmesan and additional chopped basil.
Recipe slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine.
Freezer meals are also a lifesaver during the school year. Contributor Erika recently shared some Freezer Cooking Basics that are perfect for a beginner. Contributor Lauren also had an easy crockpot meal to share last month, Crockpot Pulled Pork. My mouth is already watering!