Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spicy Turkey Spaghetti

Ugh, I feel yucky. I've still in the throes of a nasty, winter head cold. It's not my normal cold, as I'm not coughing and my nose is not congested. However, my throat is hoarse, my lymph nodes are swollen, and my head feels as if it might explode. Bleh. I'm not sure what to do with my day now. The original plan was to go to the gym but between my illness and a solid two new inches of snow on the ground, I don't think that's going to happen. While the Net' does say you can workout if you are sick (as long as you don't have a fever---->no fever here!), I am not feeling it. Staying home and baking cookies is sounding better every second.

I made this spicy, comforting spaghetti sauce over the weekend. This is one of those recipes that's pretty hands off, it just simmers away on the stove for the afternoon. The hubby's usually not home for these all day simmering events, and this one got him all worked up. I caught him in the kitchen taste testing the sauce more than a couple of times. And by early evening, he was clamoring for dinner. Pretty amazing considering the man is constantly telling me how much he dislikes spaghetti. Apparently that dislike took a backseat as he devoured a huge plate of pasta.

In my opinion, what really makes this dish is the parmesan cheese rind I simmered in the sauce. I'm not sure what it is about these cheese rinds, but man do they ever impart some delicious flavor! This is my 3rd batch of tomato sauce with a cheese rind simmered in it. I totally advise not skipping this step. Where do I get my rinds? I frequently purchase parmesan cheese wedges at the store for grating over my dishes- pastas, salads, soups, etc. When I finish the cheese, I wrap the rind in aluminum foil, label it, and throw it in the freezer for occasions such as this. Voila- flavor town! Another key point- you could make this sauce with any meat you wanted. Ground hamburger, ground pork, lots of sausage, ground chicken, really whatever you can think of. I just happened to have turkey on hand, although I do like the health benefits of turkey vs. hamburger.

Uh oh. Gizmo is sitting by the door. This means I have to drag my sorry sick butt off the couch, dress in my winter's finest, go forth into the snow, and shovel a spot in the yard for him to do his business. Sigh. Chihuahuas.

Happy Tuesday!


1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, minced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 link spicy Italian sausage
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can garlic diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional depending on heat preference)
1 rind from a wedge of fresh parmesan cheese (optional)
1 (8 oz) package fresh mushrooms, sliced


1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. When warm, add onions and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes, or until onions are tender. Add turkey and sausage to pot, stir to crumble. Cook until browned, another 5 minutes or so.
2. Add tomatoes through cheese rind to the pot. Bring sauce to a boil, lower to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours. If your sauce is too thick for your preference at this point, you can add up to 2 cups of water. I chose not to.
3. Using tongs or a spatula, remove cheese rind from the pot and discard. Add mushrooms to the pot. Prepare desired pasta. When mushrooms are tender (about 20 minutes), spoon sauce over desired pasta. Serve immediately.


  1. I had what you have last month! It lasted about two weeks. Make sure to drink lots of tea! It helped me.

    I love spaghetti and I love when it has mushrooms in it :) this looks yummy :)

    1. Ugh, 2 weeks! I'm on Day 4. I better get started on that tea!

  2. Hey noticed something in your recipe that made me scratch my head. Most of the TV chef's say to never saute garlic for more than 30-45 seconds or just until it's fragrant. . In other words, throw it in after the onions are almost translucent. Any thoughts on that? Inquiring minds and all that bull!

    1. Ah yes, burned garlic is never the goal. Since I sauté with olive oil (and its not the most heat stable oil) I didn't sauté at a very high temperature. I go ahead and add the garlic in with the onions, it didn't burn. But, when I'm cooking at higher temp like with canola oil, I'll add the garlic in for the last minute or so.


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