staying hungry : penne with turkey ragu

Picture of Penne With Turkey Ragu Recipe

(Um, totally did NOT take this picture : image credit)

Apparently I’m all about achieving new lows with the dinner challenge so far this month. I mean…I didn’t even take a picture of this week’s meal! Tragic, I tell you.

But really…it wasn’t really anything to write home about. My mom and I whipped this up one night for dinner while I was home last week from Food Network’s Light Issue. And while most recipes from Food Network are winners, this one was just so-so. It was good, not great.

Penne with Turkey Ragu

from Food Network Magazine


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for topping
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus the rind (optional)
  • 12 ounces penne
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic and turkey and cook, stirring, until the turkey browns slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high, bring the sauce to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add half of the basil and the parmesan rind and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Stir the half-and-half, the remaining basil and 2 tablespoons cheese into the sauce. Add the pasta and toss to coat, adding some of the reserved pasta water to loosen, if needed. Remove the parmesan rind and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the pasta among bowls. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon cheese and more basil.

Rating: 2.5/5. A good meal on a good night, but not a keeper. (Sorry, Food Network. I still love you!)