Classic Veggie-Loaded Turkey Meat Sauce

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A big, beautiful mess of noodles.

The start of summer has flown by, and I cannot believe how much has happened since I last shared a recipe!  Alex and I moved to Queen Anne in the beginning of May, and it took me a little while to adjust to our new, smaller kitchen.  Mise en place, the practice of preparing ingredients ahead of time in separate bowls, comes in handy in all cooking, but especially in a tiny prep area.  I was inspired to make this recipe today, so that I could have gluten-free noodles ready when my Mom arrives for her Seattle visit!  I set aside two zucchinis to make a fresh bowl of “zoodles” for her dinner.

We have been cooking and enjoying local Seattle foods, but our new place does not have a grill.  I am really looking forward to late-summer grilling with my family when we gather at the beach!  In honor of mid-summer, here is one of my favorite recipes to showcase what’s in season.

Recipe

Classic Veggie-Loaded Turkey Meat Sauce – Serves 6

Turkey meat sauce is one of my go-to make ahead meals, and the addition of seasonal vegetables makes this dinner all the more enticing.  I use fresh vegetables when I can, but this recipe could also work well with frozen mixed vegetables.  Try different vegetables until you find your favorite!  When asparagus is not in season, I tend to use broccoli in this recipe.  Marinara sauce clings to broccoli’s texture, for a pleasing mouth-feel.  This hearty sauce is the perfect addition to linguine or other noodles, and adding zucchini noodles makes for an especially bright dish.

I love the flavor of purple garlic, so give that a try if you can find it.  Purple garlic is naturally sweet, and can be added later on in the cooking process.  When using white garlic, add garlic, onions and peppers at the same time to soften the bite of the garlic flavor.

You will need:

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  1. 1-2 T olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  4. 1 pound ground turkey
  5. about 20 asparagus spears, snapped into 2-3 inch pieces
  6. mushrooms (we used sliced crimini)
  7. 24 ounces tomato marinara sauce
  8. 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  9. fresh basil
  10. dried oregano
  11. black pepper

Optional: hot red pepper flakes.  Serve topped with fresh parmesan.

Steps:

  1. Heat two large saucepans over medium heat, and add olive oil or cooking spray (I like La Tourangelle Expeller-Pressed Grapeseed Oil for cooking).  When your oil has warmed, add onion and peppers to one pan and turkey meat to the other.  Break up turkey with a spoon as it cooks, to reach desired bite-size.
  2. Stir onion and peppers and allow to soften for 3-4 minutes.  Keep breaking up turkey and make sure it browns evenly.
  3. Add asparagus and allow to cook for a few minutes more.  Then, stir in a handful of mushrooms.
  4. As soon as your turkey has browned, remove that pan from the heat.
  5. Add tomato sauce to your veggie pan and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Add cooked turkey to your sauce, and stir to coat.
  6. Prepare pasta water or another pan for pasta or zucchini noodles.  For this meal, we used a combination of the two.
  7. At the final stage of sauce preparation, turn the heat to low and add your garlic, fresh basil and spices.  Adding spices at the end showcases their bright flavors.
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Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Turkey Bacon Pasta

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The cooked egg coated the pasta and other ingredients nicely, and I was happy to have the extra protein.

I pulled this recipe together after a long morning of rowing workouts.  I dreamt up this recipe when I found leftover turkey bacon, lemon and Brussels sprouts that needed to be used, and combined those ingredients with the bowtie pasta I was craving!  I have cooked a similar recipe from “How to Cook Everything: The Basics,” called “Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage,” and that experience informed my steps for this recipe.

The first time I had shaved Brussels sprouts was at my mother-in-law Betsy’s house, so I consulted her to find out which food processor blade to use.  I have used the chopping blade before for Brussels sprouts, and that produced confetti-sized pieces.  With the slicing disc, you get larger pieces, and I prefer that texture for a hearty meal like this.  The turkey bacon added a rich, savory flavor to the Brussels sprouts.  We have a really nice brick of parmesan cheese that we have been grating, so I added plenty of cheese for more flavor.  Lemon juice added a bright note to the combination, and I finished the dish with more grated parmesan and fresh ground black pepper.  As soon as I sat down to eat this dish, I realized I wanted to add some more protein.  I poured my serving into a small pot and cracked an egg on top, and scrambled the combination until the egg was fully cooked.

Recipe

Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Turkey Bacon Pasta – serves 6 – 8

Betsy and I chatted after I made this dish, and she suggested that Canadian bacon could also be used.  She also mentioned using liquid hickory smoke and edamame for a no-meat version of the dish.  Toasted walnuts, slivered almonds or pine nuts might make a nice topping.

You will need:img_0025

  1. 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  2. one pound of bowtie pasta
  3. about 1 T olive oil
  4. 2 slices of turkey bacon, chopped or torn into small pieces
  5. 1 T lemon juice
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. 2-3 T grated parmesan cheese
  8. one egg per serving

Steps:

  1. Set up your food processor with the slicing disc.  Wash Brussels sprouts and chop off rough ends.  Feed Brussels sprouts into your food processor be shredded.
  2. Add water to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil for your pasta.  Add pasta when water is ready, and follow cooking directions according to package.  Do not dump out your pasta water – you will want some later on.
  3. In a large, stainless steel skillet heat about 1 T olive oil over medium heat.  Add turkey bacon and cook, stirring so bacon does not stick to your pan.  When bacon has browned a bit, add shaved Brussels sprouts to the pan.
  4. Add about 1/2 cup of water and cover your skillet with a lid to steam.
  5. When Brussels sprouts are just beginning to become tender, squeeze lemon juice over the pan and stir to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add cooked pasta to the skillet using a slotted spoon.  Remove pasta pot from heat and reserve pasta water.
  7. Stir pasta and Brussels sprouts to incorporate, and grate a generous pile of parmesan cheese on top.  Add up to 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water as needed to keep moisture in the dish and to create a creamy sauce to coat the pasta.
  8. If desired, scoop one serving of shaved Brussels sprouts and turkey bacon pasta into a separate small pot or pan over medium heat and add one egg.  Scramble ingredients until egg is fully cooked and egg whites go from clear to white.

Source: Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything: The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food–with 1,000 Photos. N.p.: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2012. Print.

Patrick’s Venetian Stew

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The dinner spread, complete with a fresh loaf of bread and local caciotta cheese.

My parents’ visit to Seattle just wrapped up today, and I am already feeling nostalgic for adventures and meals that we shared over the past week!  Alex and I re-visited a few of our favorite Seattle restaurants, and I had the chance to show my parents some touristy destinations that wanted to check out.

During our visit, the most noteworthy meal that we cooked at home was a rendition of Patrick’s Venetian Stew recipe.  A list of simple ingredients was brought to full, flavorful life with the help of PCC’s rich produce and seafood selection.  Mom and I prepared the base for the Venetian stew on Monday morning and let it simmer for a full hour before saving it in the fridge over the course of the day (about 7 hours).  In the evening, we took about twenty minutes to prepare the pasta, shrimp and scallops.  Overall, this meal takes just about 45 minutes to put together, but works well as a “make-ahead meal” because the tomatoes soak up the wonderful garlic, wine and butter flavors.  After our meal, we stayed with the local theme and enjoyed Theo’s dark chocolate for dessert.

Thank you to Patrick for sharing his family recipe!  This meal is best enjoyed with great friends and family, so we called for enough ingredients to feed eight or more guests.

Recipe

Patrick’s Venetian Stew – serves 8 to 10

Mom and I substituted gluten-free flour and brown rice pasta to make this recipe gluten-free.  I served my dinner with a side of rustic bread and we both recommend topping the dish with cheese!  I love garlic and hot red pepper flakes in this meal, so I tend to use even more of each ingredient than listed below.  When we cooked this dish, we left the seafood preparation until just before we were ready to serve dinner.  For this blog post, however, I have re-written the steps using Patrick’s directions, to stay true to his recipe.  Most of the words and advice below were written by Patrick, but Mom and I added the red pepper by a happy accident, and are keeping the addition for next time.

You will need: fullsizerender-3

  1. salt and pepper, to taste
  2. 2 T all purpose flour
  3. 2 lb scallops
  4. 2 T butter
  5. 1/4 C olive oil, plus 2 T
  6. 1 C dry white wine
  7. 3/4 C chicken broth
  8. shallots and/or one sweet onion, diced
  9. 3 t hot red pepper flakes (more or less per your tastes)
  10. 1 red pepper, diced
  11. 8 (or more) chopped garlic cloves
  12. 2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes, drained
  13. 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  14. 2 28 oz cans tomato puree
  15. 1/2 C sugar
  16. 2 lb shrimp

Steps:

  1. Begin by chopping your onion/shallots, red pepper and garlic.  Set aside.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp, set aside.
  3. Season and lightly flour scallops.  Heat olive oil in a large pot and lightly brown scallops for about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove scallops and set aside.
  4. Add a little more olive oil and white wine to your pot, and let reduce at medium-high heat.
  5. Add butter, chicken broth, shallots/onion, red pepper, garlic and hot red pepper flakes.  Cook until shallots/onion are done (5-8 minutes).
  6. Drain off whole tomatoes and crush by hand.
  7. Add all canned tomatoes to your pot, combining with salt and pepper to taste.  Add sugar to reduce the acidity.
  8. Bring to a simmer and add shrimp.  Stir to combine, checking shrimp opacity for doneness.  Just before shrimp are done, add scallops back in.
  9. Let simmer on very low heat for about an hour.

Optional: Serve over pasta and/or with a loaf of Italian bread.  (And of course, red wine!)

Wide Zucchini Noodles and Pappardelle with Meat Sauce

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The pappardelle at the bottom tastes great with a forkful of zucchini noodles and meat sauce with lentils!

Alex and I spent a week apart in different parts of California, and with an anticipated 10 days apart coming up,  we only wanted to spend dinners together this weekend!  This is a glimpse of “Taylor in Your Kitchen” at the Taylor home!  We got creative with more veggie noodles, and I switched up our usual turkey meat sauce recipe by adding steamed lentils, at the recommendation of one of the patients at the physical therapy clinic where I work – an anonymous “thank you!”

This recipe is fantastic for a quick weeknight meal.  The sauce is easy to make once you get used to cooking with multiple pans simultaneously.  To ease your transition to that stage of kitchen comfort, I recommend prepping all of the sauce ingredients before you start cooking.  When the sauce is simmering, you can multitask more easily with the pasta and zucchini noodles.  Pappardelle noodles cook in about four minutes, and while the water is boiling, you can make progress on the zucchini prep.  Otherwise, prep all ingredients first until you get a hang of this recipe.  This dish makes a satisfying vegetarian meal if you omit the turkey; the lentils lend staying power to the sauce.

Recipe

Wide Zucchini Noodles and Pappardelle and Meat Sauce – serves 4

For this recipe, I like to use a peeler for the zucchini instead of the spiralizer, to match the width of the pappardelle pasta.  Zucchini noodles take about 5 – 7 minutes to cook down.  Check out the gallery to see what the zucchini will look like as it cooks.  You can also prep zucchini noodles quickly by microwaving a single serving for just 2 minutes – that’s perfect for leftover sauce.

You will need:

  1. 1 yellow onion
  2. 1 orange pepper
  3. 1 lb ground turkey meat
  4. 1 package steamed lentils – about 10 ounces
  5. 24 ounces of pasta sauce, your choice on flavor!
  6. 1 t garlic powder
  7. 1 t black pepper
  8. 1/2 t hot red pepper flakes
  9. 1 package of pappardelle pasta – about four 2 ounce servings
  10. 1/2 T salt
  11. 4 or 5 zucchini
  12. 1/2 T olive oil

Optional: parmesan cheese to serve

Steps:

  1. Peel the outside layer of zucchinis and discard.  Keep peeling until you reach the zucchini seeds, and discard the center portion.  Retain all zucchini strips – those will be your noodles.
  2. Chop onion and yellow pepper(mini or bite-sized pieces).  Heat a medium pan over medium-low heat, and spray with cooking spray.  Add chopped onion and pepper pieces and stir occasionally while veggies cook.  Your onions should start to become translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a medium pot over medium heat for the turkey and sauce.
  4. Spray with cooking spray and brown turkey meat.  Crush up the turkey meat and season with garlic, pepper and hot red pepper flakes.
  5. While turkey is browning, start heating a pot of water for pasta.  Add just a dash of salt to the water as you bring it to a boil.
  6. Add your veggies to the turkey meat when the meat has cooked through completely.  Stir to combine.  Add pre-cooked lentils last.
  7. Pour your pasta sauce over the meat, veggies and lentils.  Stir and simmer for about 10-15 minutes over low heat until your pasta and noodles are ready.
  8. Add pappardelle to boiling water, and reduce heat to medium-high.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, and check tenderness after just four minutes.  Drain as usual and stir in olive oil immediately.
  9. Heat a medium pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add your pile of zucchini noodles, and cover with a lid.  Stir occasionally until zucchini reaches desired tenderness.
  10. Plate pappardelle pasta with an equal amount of zucchini noodles.  Top with pasta sauce and parmesan cheese or more hot red pepper flakes.