Ground Turkey Bolognese with Porcini Mushrooms

ground turkey bolognese on a white plate.

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5 from 5 reviews

Ground turkey simmers with porcini mushrooms for a rich, healthy Bolognese sauce that is delicious tossed with pasta.


  • 2 ozs dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 28 ozs diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups porcini soaking liquid
  • 1 lb rigatoni or other short pasta shape
  • grated parmesan cheese for topping
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Pinch fennel seed
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)


  1. Soak the porcini: Heat the water in a pan. When it starts to boil, remove from stove and pour over the dried porcini in a bowl that can withstand the hot water. Let the porcini soak in the water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Drain porcini: Place a sieve over a bowl and line it with a wet paper towel. Pour the mushrooms into the sieve. Reserve the porcini soaking water. Rinse the mushrooms, then coarsely chop and set aside.
  3. Sauté vegetables: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Add the carrot, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Brown the turkey: Add the garlic, cook for another minute. Add another tablespoon olive oil, and gradually add the turkey, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 5 minutes to “brown” the turkey. Add the porcini mushrooms, and stir to combine.
  5. Add liquid and other ingredients: Stir in the cooking wine, and cook for about 5 minutes until the wine has been mostly absorbed into the meat. Stir in the tomatoes and 2 cups reserved porcini liquid. Add the  basil, marjoram, fennel seed and oregano.
  6. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for at least 45 minutes. If you have time to let is simmer a bit longer, that further enhances the flavors.
  7. Cook the pasta according to package instructions toward the end of the simmering time for the sauce. Drain the pasta, and toss with enough sauce to thoroughly coat the pasta. Keep the extra sauce warm on low heat.
  8. Plate the pasta and top with a bit of additional sauce, if desired. Sprinkle a few bits of optional parsley on top for presentation. Pass the cheese at the table, and enjoy with a good Italian red wine.


  • This makes 8 servings, so if you aren’t feeding a large family or entertaining you will probably have leftovers! You could reserve some of the sauce to reheat and toss with a fresh batch of pasta if you like.
  • The extra sauce referenced above can also be frozen and used with another batch of pasta later.
  • We say “brown” the turkey, but it doesn’t truly turn brown like beef does. Rather, the outside starts turning white showing that it has started getting cooked.
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