pasta bolognese with bucatini


pasta bolognese with bucatini via playswellwithbutter | classic italian comfort food lightened up as a “fauxlognese” by using ground turkey & tons of veggies without compromising any of the flavor! bring an authentic taste of italy into your home with zero guilt!



  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 34 carrots, diced
  • 2 T oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 springs fresh rosemarry
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 C good red wine (italian, if you can!)
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted, if you can!)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (san marzano, if you can!)
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 lb dried pasta (bucatini, if you can!)


  1. In an enameled dutch oven or any other heavy-bottom pan, heat 2 T oil (I prefer olive oil or coconut oil for their high smoke temperatures) over medium-high heat until melted & glistening.
  2. Add 2 medium yellow onions & 3-4 carrots, all diced to the pot with a generous pinch of salt (this pulls out the water from the veg & aids in caramelization – which is what builds the depth of flavor!). Stir so all veggies are coated in oil & cook, continuing to stir every so often.
  3. After about 15 minutes, grate 4 cloves of garlic into the pan. Stir & continue to cook until deeply caramelized, about 5 more minutes, stirring every so often.
  4. Once caramelized, reduce to medium heat & push veggies to the sides of the pan, revealing a hole in the middle. Add ground turkey to the hole & season with salt & pepper (about 1/2 tsp each). Cook turkey until browned & break it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as this will result in the turkey drying out.
  5. Once turkey is browned, add thyme, rosemary, & bay leaves. You can bundle them together with butcher’s twine, which will make it easier to fish out once the bolognese is done.
  6. Add diced & crushed tomatoes & 1 C wine. Simmer over medium high heat until wine is reduced, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add remaining 1 C of wine & continue to simmer over medium high heat until wine is reduced, about 5 more minutes.
  8. Fish out your aromatics (thyme stems, rosemary, & bay leaves) with a wooden spoon.
  9. At this point your bolognese is done & is fridge or freezer ready.
  10. When you’re ready to serve, boil pasta in salted water according to instructions on the box.
  11. While pasta is boiling, heat sauce in a skillet until bubbling.
  12. Add heavy cream to bolognese (~2 T per serving) & heat, stirring until cream is incorporated into the sauce.
  13. Strain pasta once cooked, reserving a little of the salty cooking liquid to the side.
  14. Toss cooked pasta with bolognese sauce. If the sauce is a little thick, loosen it up with some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid until desired consistency is reached.
  15. Serve with parmesan & red wine! Mangia!


Make a double batch & freeze some for later

  • Bolognese freezes SO well, i cannot even begin to tell you. to freeze, complete steps 1-8 & allow the sauce to cool down to room temperature before transferring into a one gallon freezer bag. Be sure to gently squeeze out all the air as you seal the bag. Will freeze well for up to 4 months.

Make it a crock-pot recipe!

  • Complete steps 1-5 in a dutch oven, as written, but starting with step 6 you can transfer into a crock-pot, adding tomatoes & both cups of wine all at once. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 2 hours. Add cream. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, allowing the sauce & cream to come together. Add pasta right into the crock-pot, toss, & serve.

Lighten it up even more

  • Though i think it’s totally worth the splurge, you can swap out heavy cream with half & half or milk to cut back on fat & calories.


  • Serving Size: 8