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A dwindling food supply in your home at week’s end doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice nutrition or flavor. A modest amount of ground turkey is supplemented here by chickpeas to supply a solid amount of protein in a cost-effective manner. One goal I had with the dish was to use some fresh basil I’d managed to preserve from earlier in the week, adding a this fresh herb gives a nice flavor boost. Though you might see a similar theme in other Frugal Friday dishes here built around pasta, I’m always pleased by how a few tweaks of the ingredients on a basic concept can result in a new, interesting dish. This one is very tasty, a definite keeper!
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb turkey ground
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 cup red wine
28 oz can tomatoes
2 handfuls basil, chopped
15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
appx 3 ozs baby spinach
1/3 cup grated cheese–I used a combo of Gouda and Romano
1 lb short pasta shape, I used elbows
Start boiling some water for the pasta. Saute the onion with 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium pan for about 5 minutes until it begins to soften. Add the red pepper, saute on medium heat for a few more minutes, then add the garlic for another minute or two. Push the onion mixture to the side of the pan.
Add the ground turkey to the center of the pan, cook for a few minutes there until it begins to turn white. Stir the turkey together with the onion mixture, cook for a few more minutes until the turkey has turned mostly all white on the outside. Stir in the red wine, cook it for about 5 minutes until it is mostly absorbed. Add the canned tomatoes, including the juice. If using whole tomatoes, use a heavy spoon to gradually break them up against the side of the pan. Add the basil and fennel seed to the tomato mixture.
Start cooking the pasta in the boiling water after adding the tomatoes to the pan. This is a pretty quick cooking tomato sauce. Add the chickpeas and spinach to the tomato sauce a few minutes before the pasta is ready. You can break up a few chickpeas to thicken the sauce a bit if you’d like.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and combine it with the remaining tbsp of olive oil and the sauce. Stir in the grated cheese, and serve with extra cheese at the table. Though you could simply use Romano or Parmesan, I like to add flavor by using remnants of other cheese I have on hand like the Gouda. Serve and enjoy this fast, tasty dish!