Hearty Bolognese

5 stars
(4 ratings)
Hearty Bolognese

Have you been holed up inside while an Arctic Blast surrounds you? Are you digging out from snow? Scraping freezing rain from your windshield? That meme, “January was a tough year, but we made it”, always seems to ring true, especially by the third week. Mother Nature is sure giving us lots of reasons to make a cozy pot of classic bolognese and enjoy a big bowl of pasta — life’s ultimate comfort food. 

I met my best friend Anne when I was 12 years old, and was immediately smitten with her spectacular mom, and her mom’s cooking — namely chocolate chip cookies (slightly burned, the way I like them), and spaghetti sauce. This recipe is very close to Mama Beth’s, and I can almost smell it bubbling away in her kitchen: the sizzling mirepoix (don’t skimp on the veggies!), fragrant Italian herbs, chunky meat (we use turkey in this recipe, but Beth always used beef), and high-quality crushed tomatoes all come together to yield the most perfectly thick sauce. In college, Mama Beth made big batches for us to bring to our dorm, and Anne and I would eat it right out of the Tupperware, too lazy to boil any noodles. 

Beth passed away in 2017 at age 69, after a devastating battle with Frontotemporal Dementia. She was one of the most vivacious and compassionate people I’ve ever known, who loved nothing more than creating community around a shared meal. Dining with Beth was one of my favorite things — whether she was cooking Thanksgiving dinner or ordering “one of every appetizer” on the menu. She would have loved our Supper Club. 

May you stay warm and cozy, and taste a little bit of Mama Beth’s magic in this recipe.

Prepare pasta with a delicious red meat sauce packed with veggies!

  • Active Kitchen Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • Parmesan cheese

Supper Smarts:

  • Mix it Up: Layer bolognese with lasagna noodles, ricotta, and mozzarella to make a hearty lasagna.

  • Speed it Up: Buy mirepoix (chopped celery, onion, and carrots) ready-made at a grocery store. Alternatively, add veggies to a food processor and pulse into very small pieces for quicker prep.

  • Leftover Love: Make zucchini boats! Slice zucchinis lengthwise and scoop out the middle. Add leftover bolognese sauce inside, top with cheese, and roast at 400°F for 20-25 minutes.


Cut 1 onion in half, cut ends away, and peel. Cut onion into strips, then dice. Add to mixing bowl.
Grate 2 carrots on large holes of a box grater. Add to onions.
Smash and peel 3 cloves of garlic. Mince and add to onions and carrots.
Cut 2 stalks of celery into long strips and dice. Add to onions, carrots, and garlic.
Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in pot over medium heat.
Add veggies to pot. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until softened, stirring occasionally.
Add 1 lb ground turkey to pot. Use a wooden spoon to break turkey into small pieces.
Cook until ground turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp dried basil, and 1 tsp dried oregano to pot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring pot of salted water to boil. Cook 1 lb spaghetti according to package directions.
Drain pasta and return to pot.
Top plates of pasta with Bolognese sauce and Parmesan cheese. TASTE & SHARE!

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Susan February 5, 2024 @ 10:51 AM
Very good and quick! I used mushrooms instead of meat. Tastes even better the next day.
Susan February 21, 2024 @ 10:02 AM
Candace January 24, 2024 @ 05:16 PM
This was the first recipe we made since joining and I had to write a review because it was incredible! Such a simple dish but so flavorful! Both my 10 year old and 5 year old slurped it right up and asked for seconds. We used plant based ground “meat” to make this vegan for our family and topped it withvegan Parmesan. Thanks for a great recipe! We’re excited to try more!
Sandra January 21, 2024 @ 01:31 PM
Thank you for this recipe and for sharing your memories.