Thursday, August 23, 2007

Turkey Bolognese Sauce over Polenta Squares


I really enjoyed this dish and I think you will too. It is a very loose interpretation of bolognese sauce, since traditionally bolognese is made with meat and uses very little tomato. It also has milk or cream in it, which I didn't use. I just thought it sounded better to call it turkey bolognese sauce than turkey tomato sauce. Don't you think??

This is really easy to make, so don't let the photo deceive you. It is just a little time consuming, due to the chopping, but it is so worth it. The polenta is also easy to make since I used the quick cooking one. If you have never tried polenta, please give it a chance. It is sort of like grits. It definately needs to have a sauce or ragu over it to give it flavor. I made a marsala chicken ragu over polenta another time and it was also really good. It's a nice change of pace if your a little tired of pasta.

Turkey Bolognese Sauce over Polenta Squares

Start by making the

Polenta Squares

2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta

Bring the water, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Stir constantly until the polenta thickens, about 5 minutes. Pour the polenta into a greased 9 by 9-inch baking pan, spreading so that it is 1/3-inch thick. Cover and let stand at room temperature until set, about 15 minutes.

Turkey Bolognese Sauce
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot or small onion, chopped fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine, optional (I had some so I used it, but you could also use chopped carrot, celery and/or green pepper )
3/4 lb. ground turkey (I used 93% lean)
1 Tbls. tomato paste, optional (I had some in the freezer so I used it)
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 - 28 oz. can Italian whole tomatoes, hard pieces discarded and crushed by hand or blender (I used Muir Glen Organic and pureed them slightly with my hand held blender)
1/2 can water
1o fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Add about 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, red bell pepper and shallot to a cold large skillet and cook on medium low until the veggies soften and become fragrant. Immediately add the ground turkey, turn the heat up to medium high and stir until almost cooked through. Push the turkey to the sides of the skillet and make an open spot in the middle of the pan. Add the tomato paste, stir and cook until it begins to caramelize. Add the oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for about a minute. Add the can of tomatoes and 1/2 can full of water. Stir to combine all ingredients. Add the bay leave, whole basil leaves and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover partially. Let simmer for about half an hour on low heat. Remove the whole basil leaves, if desired, and add the chopped basil. Taste to see if more salt and pepper is needed.

To Assemble:
Cut the polenta into 6-8 squares. Arrange the polenta squares on a platter. Spoon the warm Turkey Bolonese Sauce atop the polenta. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese and serve immediately.


Joe said...

Woo! This really looks delicious - I love cutting out polenta and using it in different ways. How about crisping up the polenta squares by grilling them or with a bit of oil in a skillet first?

Emily said...

Can you believe that we don't have polenta here??? It drives me crazy.

Is it just me or are these word verifications getting longer? And harder to read.

Annie said...

Joe, Yes, that's a great idea. I usually toast or grill them to reheat them if I have leftovers.

Emilie, That's too bad. I don't eat it too often, but when I want it, I can get it anytime.
And yes, the words thingys are getting to be a bitch. I always mess up and have to retype them over :(