Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Penne Pasta with Ground Turkey Marinara Meat Sauce

Um, hello, fall. I didn't know I was to expect you so soon. I planned to enjoy my last weekend of summer - aka Labor Day - by the pool. But nooooo. Apparently, mother nature had other plans. And those plans were for cool, fall weather. Not that I don't love fall - I do! My birthday is this month (and the hubby's!), and the crisp fall weather always seems so refreshing after a hot summer. However, I was not ready to give up on my summer just yet. Alas, I have no choice.

So this brings me to fall(ish) foods. While spaghtetti, and any pasta, is year-round food in my book, there is something to be said for some warmer, comforting food in the face of all this cold. As many of you know I love to make my own meat sauce. For some reason it makes me feel extra good to go through a few additional steps to make my own. The hubby raves about it every time I make it, and I end up with some awesome lunch leftovers. (Thanks to tonight's dinner, I have three lunches this week!)

Anyhoo, this sauce is very, very, VERY easy. And quick! I even took a picture to show how I prepare the whole meal at once, on one stovetop. I love that because, living in an apartment, we're tight on space - and on time! This is one of my own recipes, but inspired by Rachael Ray's marinara recipe for Zesty Chicken Tenderloins Parmigiana. Inspiration is key, right? Happy eating and enjoy!

Penne Pasta with Ground Turkey Marinara Meat Sauce
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp, inspired by Rachael Ray
Serves 4-6, depending on servings  

*3 cloves garlic, minced
*2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
*2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
*10-12 leaves fresh basil, roughly cut or torn (or 1 tbsp. dried basil, plus more to taste)
*1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (add more per your taste and preference)
*1/2 teaspoon dried basil (add more per your taste and preference)
*1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary (add more per your taste and preference)
*2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
*1/4-1/2 cup red wine (I used merlot, and just added to taste, couldn't tell you how much to be sure)
*couple pinches salt
*Lean ground turkey (I prefer ground turkey because it's healthier, cheaper, and tastes pretty much the same when mixed in a sauce or other dish.)
*whole wheat whole grain penne pasta
*fresh parmesan cheese (garnish) 

*Prepare pasta according to package directions.

*Combine olive oil, minced garlic and red pepper flakes in a saucepan. When the garlic sizzles add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, brown sugar, salt, fresh basil and dried seasoning, as desired. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and allow the sauce to simmer while you work on the meat.

*Place ground turkey on a skilled over medium to high heat, depending on your stove. Use a spatula or turner to turn meat and break it apart as it cooks. The juices should run clear and then be reabsorbed as the meat browns and finishes cooking.

*Add the cooked meat to the sauce, stirring it together well. Allow the meat sauce to simmer for at least ten minutes to absorb all the flavors. The longer you let them simmer together the richer the sauce will taste and more it will thicken.

*Place the penne in a shallow bowl and top with sauce. Sprinkle a little freshly grated parmesan cheese (or packaged, pure luck I had some fresh on hand) on top and enjoy your quick meal! :)

My little stove! Garlic, pasta, and ground turkey cooking away!

My go-to can of crushed tomatoes

Smelling good already
My new favorite pasta/brand. So filling yet you don't even need a big portion! Love that kind of filling pasta.

Beginning to brown

Time to mix it together!

Yummmm :)
Hello, dinner.

Last one...really wanted to get in close :)

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