Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Faux-lognese Sauce

Apologies, veggie friends.  The "faux" in this recipe refers not to the use of seitan or textured vegetable protein to create a meat-like effect in a meat sauce, but to the fact that when I told the husband I was planning on making Gwyneth's Turkey Bolognese for dinner this week, he responded, "That sounds delicious, but it's not Bolognese".

Classic Bolognese sauce includes "the trinity" (carrots, onions, and celery) and this recipe includes only two of the three.  Classic Bolognese uses three different kinds of meat (usually pork, veal and beef), and Gwyn's uses just two (turkey and sausage).  Finally, classic Bolognese gets finished off with with a generous splash of heavy cream, and since my dinner audience this night included two of the lactose intolerant persuasion, I went ahead and left that out.  And while Gwyneth's recipe uses ground turkey and chicken sausages cut in pieces, I used ground chicken (way cheaper and just as flavorful) and I removed the casings from two mild Italian chicken sausages and sauteed the meat with the ground chicken.

I also did a half-dozen other things differently than someone's grandma in Bologna and that didn't resemble Gwyneth's recipe either, so in the end, I had my very own Faux-lognese creation, and it was a delicious one at that.  The lack of cream and beef turned this into something far lighter than your usual meat sauce, and the spice blend as well as the fennel in the sausage gave it a really delicate, herbaceous zing that we loved.  I tossed it with rigatoni, as that is the husband's favorite pasta, but any tubular shape would work well to capture the rich sauce.  With garlic bread on the side and a robust glass of red, this was Friday dinner perfection.  Sometimes the classics need to be turned upside down!

SMJ's "Faux-lognese" Sauce 
inspired by Gwyneth's Turkey Bolognese from "My Father's Daughter"

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
7 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 lb. ground chicken (preferably dark meat)
2 mild Italian chicken sausages, casings removed
2 28 oz. cans tomatoes (1 whole peeled with juices, 1 crushed)
1/2 teaspoon each paprika, dried oregano and basil + more to taste
2 bay leaves
1 heaping tablespoon of tomato paste
1 solid glug of red wine (I used a Shiraz Cab blend we had on hand, probably about 1/4 cup)
Salt & Pepper to taste

1) Heat oil in the bottom of a large soup pot or Dutch oven on medium heat.  Add onions and saute gently until translucent, about 10 minutes.
2) Add the carrots, garlic and thyme, and continue to saute, stirring often, for another 10 minutes.
3) Add the chicken and crumble the sausages into the pot.  Cook until both brown through evenly, continuing to stir often, about another 5 minutes or so.
4) Add the other spices, the tomatoes, tomato paste and wine.  Reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer, covered, for about 4 hours, stirring intermittently.
5) To serve, remove the bay leaves and toss with one pound of cooked pasta.  I like an extremely saucy pasta, so this recipe could probably be stretched much farther, or used on one pound of pasta after reserving some to freeze... it all depends on personal preference.  Garnish with parmesan cheese.


  1. Without fail, these blogs of yours always make me hungry for a delicious meal like this at the exact moment I read it... in this case, around 9:00am. mmmmmmmm!

  2. Sounds amazing SMJ! And definitely something the hubby wouldn't turn his nose up at. haha

  3. I really liked the background info on classic bolognese sauce. It added texture and intrigue and was quite interesting, too!