Our New England weather is starting to to have a fall feel to it, inspiring comforting dishes like this Risotto with Butternut Squash, Chicken and Sage. But we still have a few more weeks of tomatoes rolling in from local farms and gardens. My Dad shared some extra tomatoes from his garden around the same time we got a batch of heirloom and roma tomatoes from our Enterprise Farm fall farmshare. I needed to get cooking while the tomatoes were still good, and came up with this Farm Fresh Tomato Sauce with Ground Turkey.
A typical meat sauce for pasta relies on a long, slow simmer of canned tomatoes with beef and/or pork. Enjoying the fresh taste of local tomatoes requires a lighter touch. This fresh tomato sauce uses a modest amount of ground turkey and a medley of other veggies–I was able to use some carrot, onion and herbs on hand from the farmshare.
The tomatoes only get cooked about 15 minutes here, to retain their fresh flavor. I toss in a few flavor boosts like the olives and fresh parsley to compensate for having less of a meaty flavor. You can certainly adjust to use what you have on hand. Other fresh herbs in particular would be nice.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 small carrot, diced
- ½ celery rib, diced
- ½ red bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ lb. ground turkey
- ½ cup vegetable stock, preferably lower sodium
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
- pinch ground fennel
- tbsp balsamic
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried basil (use fresh if you have it on hand!)
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 8 to 10 olives, sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 ozs fusilli or other short pasta
- parmesan or romano cheese to pass at table
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion. Cook for a few minutes until it begins to soften.
- Stir in the carrot, celery and red pepper, cook for about 5 minutes until it has softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minutes.
- Stir in the ground turkey, combining it with the onion mixture. Cook on medium heat until the outside of the turkey has turned whitish. Add the vegetable stock, stir and cook until most of the liquid has absorbed, about 5 minutes. Start the water boiling for pasta around the time you add the stock.
- Add the fresh tomatoes to the skillet, stir until everything is well combined. Add the fennel, balsamic, tomato paste and the remaining herbs–rosemary, basil, and parsley.
- Start cooking the pasta after you add the tomatoes. Cook pasta according to package instructions. The tomatoes should cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it, toss with the remaining olive oil and then stir the sauce into the pasta. Plate and serve, passing the cheese around the table for a topping. Enjoy!