Enlightened Bolognese

I am always looking for ways to lighten and slash calories in recipes.  Some experiments have been more successful than others.

I love traditional Bolognese.  What’s not to love?  Pancetta, beef, veal, pork all slow simmered in wine, milk or heavy cream.  A dash of nutmeg.  Fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Not exactly a light and healthy dish.

It is easy to lighten this by swapping lean ground turkey for the meats and 2% milk for the milk/cream.  The results were a success!

If you are looking for a healthier version of Bolognese, try this turkey version! As satisfying as the original.  And you won’t miss a thing except the calories!

Lightened and adapted from Epicurious.com.

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground by butcher or thinly sliced and pulsed in food processor until finely chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 ounce) Italian diced tomotoes
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2  cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Cook onions, celery, carrot, and garlic in oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add pancetta and turkey and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps for about 6 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, milk, wine, water, and thyme and gently simmer, covered, until sauce is thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Add salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Sauce may be made 2 days ahead and cooled and refrigerated covered.  Frozen, it keeps for 1 month.

Serve with your favorite pasta.

Linked to:

Foodie Friday

I’m Lovin It Friday

Food On Fridays

Friday Potluck

Katie’s Cucina

Fun with Food Friday

{photos – sauce by robynmac, plated bolognese by fredredhat}

One response to “Enlightened Bolognese

  1. DJ

    This looks like a great alternative to the heavier version I have had in Italy!

Leave a Reply to DJ Cancel reply

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