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Saucy Ground Turkey Pasta

Prep: 10 min, Cook: 20 min

Servings 4-5


  • 8 oz. dried penne, rigatoni or medium shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt separated
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 16 oz. jar pasta sauce
  • ½ cup starchy pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ heavy cream or half & half
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Optional: ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley or basil


  1. Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente. Before straining the pasta, set aside 1 cup of starchy pasta water. Strain the pasta. Rinse the pasta with cold water and set aside for later.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add olive oil. When the olive oil is fragrant, add the onion to the pan and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  3. Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes and then add the garlic to the pan.  Cook for an additional 1 minute.
  4. When the garlic is fragrant add the ground turkey to the pan and sprinkle with the Italian seasoning. Break the ground turkey up into small pieces and cook the turkey until it is almost cooked but has bits of pink still left. Drain if necessary.
  5. Add the pasta sauce and ½ cup of the starchy pasta water to the pan and stir to combine.
  6. Next, add the tomato paste to the pan and whisk into the tomato sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  7. Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer and continue to cook the ground turkey (about 4-7 min)
  8. Taste the sauce and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon more salt if needed.
  9. While the sauce is still on a low simmer, slowly add in the heavy cream, while constantly stirring the tomato sauce until combined.
  10. Finally, gently fold the pasta into the tomato sauce. Let the noodles heat up in the sauce.
  11. To serve, top with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley or basil if desired.


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