One-Pot Wonders: Weeknight Turkey "Bolognese"


[Photographs: Yasmin Fahr]

Cooking tasty and satisfying dinners—aka not eating the same thing every night— is a tricky task (there's a reason why almost every New Yorker has the Seamless App on their phone). Time is short, you're tired, and being creative or spontaneous is just not happening. Enter this column, devoted to new and classic "one-pot wonders" that keep you cooking.

Creamy, unctuous, and utterly comforting, a traditional bolognese sauce typically takes around three hours to make, allowing the flavorful liquids (like milk and wine) to concentrate and envelop the ground meat to make that rich sauce we all love. Outside of the Italian countryside and professional kitchens, weeknight meals are not conducive to three hours of simmering, so we're going to fast track the process, creating a riff on the classic sauce that still maintains its delicious flavor.

Yes, a lot of you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking that there's no way to create the depth of flavor in a layered sauce like bolognese in less than an hour, and, to an extent, you're right. It's not going to be the exact same thing, but it's pretty darn close, and mighty tasty.

How so? We're going to rely on extra oomph from the mirepoix (a combination of carrots, onions, and celery) used in the base of the sauce, with the carrots adding a touch of sweetness to round out the acidity of the tomatoes. Red wine tenderizes the meat, infusing the sauce with still more flavor. After the tomatoes and pasta, the real kicker is a splash of umami-heavy fish sauce to finish it off.

Go wild with the freshly grated cheese, as it'll add a salty nuttiness to the dish, and thicken the sauce to boot. A generous topping of fresh basil adds that necessary touch of brightness to end the meal, though you'll probably go back for seconds.