This rotini bolognese provides a rich and hearty flavor that is perfect for a weeknight dinner. A tomato based meat sauce with carrots, onions, veggies, and herbs tops al dente pasta to make a delicious pasta bolognese.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- While this recipe is not the traditional bolognese recipe you would find at an Italian restaurant, we think that it still deserves a place in the meal rotation! The bolognese sauce is flavorful and uses fresh and simple ingredients.
- This recipe does require some simmering time, but it otherwise comes together very quickly!
- The bolognese sauce freezes very well, making for a quick and easy dinner in the future. You might consider doubling the recipe and saving the other half for later!
- Olive oil - you will need a little olive oil to cook the ground turkey and the vegetables.
- Lean ground turkey - we like to use lean ground turkey to create the meaty sauce for this recipe, but feel free to use lean ground beef, ground pork, or Italian sausage if you prefer those options. Ground beef and ground pork are often used as a mixture in more traditional recipes.
- Medium white onion, large carrots, celery stalks - you will need to mince half of a medium white onion, one large carrot, and a one stalk of celery for this recipe to make a mirepoix. To make this step easier, you can add the vegetables to a food processor and pulse until minced. Trader Joe's also sells a pre-minced mirepoix.
- Minced garlic - feel free to use fresh garlic cloves, minced garlic in a jar/bottle, or frozen garlic cubes.
- San Marzano tomatoes - you will need one 28 oz can of the whole, peeled tomatoes. We highly recommend using these tomatoes for their authentic, rich flavor, but if you aren't able to find them, you can used crushed tomatoes in a pinch. Just note that the flavor will slightly differ.
- Tomato paste - tomato paste will help to thicken the sauce and enhance the rich tomato flavor. Tomato paste is more concentrated and flavorful than tomato passata.
- Kosher salt - you will need 3/4 teaspoon salt for the sauce and additional to taste as needed. We also recommend generously salting the water in which you will boil the noodles.
- Chicken broth - we opted to use chicken broth for our sauce, but you can replace it with white wine or red wine if you prefer to cook with wine. Beef broth is also an option if you use ground beef instead of ground turkey.
- Oregano - a little oregano helps to give a great flavor. You could also use Italian seasoning.
- Fresh basil - we recommend chopping the fresh basil and adding it in at the end. We prefer fresh basil, but you can also swap it for 2 tsp dried basil.
- Rotini pasta - bolognese is typically served with a wide, flat noodle, but we chose to use rotini pasta for this recipe. Feel free to use your favorite pasta such as rigatoni to make a rigatoni bolognese or stick with the traditional flat noodle.
- Optional toppings: grated parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes
See the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients and measurements.
Equipment You’ll Need
- Cutting board and knives
- Optional: food processor*
- A rubber spatula or wooden spoon
- A large pan or dutch oven
- A large pot
- Measuring cups and spoons
- A blender
Step by Step Directions
For the full recipe instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Begin by preparing the carrots, onion, and celery. Mince them into small pieces. Use a food processor if you prefer.
Heat a large pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ground turkey. While the turkey cooks, use a spatula to break the turkey into small pieces. Cook the turkey for 5-7 minutes, until no longer pink and cooked through. Drain any excess fat and liquid from the pan.
Add the additional 1 tbsp of olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pan. Stir and let the veggies soften for 2-3 minutes.
Add the San Marzano tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt to a blender. Blend on high until you have a smooth tomato puree. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan along with the chicken broth. Stir well and reduce to low heat. Let the sauce simmer for a minimum of 25 minutes up to 40 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
When the sauce is nearing completion, cook pasta according to box instructions, until they are al dente. Be sure to salt the pasta water generously!
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the oregano and chopped basil.
Spoon the bolognese sauce over the cooked pasta. Top with additional fresh basil, parmesan cheese, or black pepper, or red pepper flakes if desired
Tips & Variations
- As mentioned above, you can swap the chicken broth with red or white wine if you prefer to cook with wine.
- If you notice any browned bits at the bottom of the pot while the sauce is simmering, stir more frequently and reduce the heat to prevent browning.
We recommend storing the pasta and sauce in a separate airtight container. Use within 3-4 days.
Add a good amount of sauce to the pasta and simply microwave until warm!
Absolutely! We love to make a double batch and freeze the other half to use later. It makes for the perfect freezer meal that warms up quickly when you are ready to use it again. We recommend storing it in the freezer in a Ziploc bag or an airtight container. You can warm it over the stove when you are ready to use it again.
This recipe is not intended for a slow cooker or instant pot, and therefore we cannot guarantee consistent results.
This recipe is dairy free. It is not vegetarian or vegan.
Make it gluten-free: swap noodles for a gluten-free noodle such as Banza noodles.
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If you make this rotini bolognese, please let us know how it turns out in the comments below and/or rate the recipe! Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram to show us your finished product—it makes our day every time we see you trying the recipes we love!
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 lb lean ground turkey or ground beef
- 1/2 of a medium white onion, minced
- 1 large carrot, minced
- 1 stalk of celery, minced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (whole, peeled)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (can also use red wine here)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
- 16 oz box of rotini pasta (or another type of pasta)
- Begin by preparing the carrots, onion, and celery. Mince them into small pieces. Use a food processor if you prefer.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ground turkey. While the turkey cooks, use a spatula to break the turkey into small pieces. Cook the turkey for 5-7 minutes, until no longer pink and cooked through. Drain any excess liquid from the pan.
- Add the additional 1 tbsp of olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pan. Stir and let the veggies soften for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the San Marzano tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt to a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Pour the tomato sauce into the pan along with the chicken broth. Stir well and reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer for a minimum of 25 minutes up to 40 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- When the sauce is nearing completion, cook the noodles according to box instructions. Be sure to salt the water you boil the pasta in generously!
- Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the oregano and chopped basil.
- This recipe is dairy free. It is not vegetarian or vegan.
- Make it gluten-free: swap noodles for a gluten-free noodle such as Banza noodles.
The recipe can be found on My Fitness Pal by searching "BWB Rotini Bolognese."
The nutrition content provided for each recipe is an estimate created through the My Fitness Pal database. Please be aware that the nutritional content of each recipe may vary based on the products you use, the precision of your measurements, and the source you use to obtain nutrition data. While we try to provide accurate information, we give no guarantee regarding the accuracy of the nutritional information provided.