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Homemade penne rigate with ground turkey and heirloom tomato sauce recipe

At this point in the summer season our garden is overflowing with a bounty of veggies, but none are more prominent than the varieties of tomatoes we have.

With this bounty of heirloom tomatoes and a container of ground turkey in the fridge I decided to whip up a new recipe for dinner last night.

We usually use ground beef for our meat sauce, but I wanted a lighter meal as it's been really hot and humid these past few days and I enjoy eating lighter in these situations. The ground turkey and sugo semplice (simple sauce) worked out really well together with the addition of peas and fresh basil.

Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 15 minutes

Cooktime: 20 minutes


3-4 large tomatoes

1 lb ground turkey

2 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 hot red chili pepper, cut into quarters (optional)

1/2-3/4 cup of fresh or frozen peas

1-2 large basil leafs, thinly sliced

1 pound penne rigate

Directions (with near step-by-step photo instruction)

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil (enough to fit your tomatoes).

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium high heat and place all the ground turkey inside. As it begins to cook, be sure to break it into pieces with your wooden spoon (no metal on metal!).

3. When your water is boiling, carefully place your tomatoes inside and blanch (scald with boiling water) for roughly 1 minute. Carefully remove your tomatoes with a slotted spoon and remove to a cutting board.

4. Continue to break up and stir your turkey meat. At this point it will begin to shed water.

5. With gloves on, or barehanded (if you're careless like myself) peel your tomatoes, then slice into pieces.

6. At this point, your turkey should be nearly cooked all the way through. Carefully lift your skillet off the stovetop and with a lid on, drain the excess water and return to your stovetop. Now it's time to add your tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and chili pepper.

7. Begin to stir and move the initial 'sauce' around until it is well mixed. Now fill a pot of water and place on a burner to boil water for your pasta.

8. Add the peas and begin to stir around some more. Now cover the skillet with a lid and lower heat to medium low.

9. After 3-5 minutes, you will have a sauce that begins to resemble the following. If your water is now boiling, place your pasta inside. Penne usually take about 5 minutes for al dente.

10. It's now time to place your fresh basil inside and give one more quick stir before you seal the skillet once more.

11. After 4 more minutes of sealed cooking you should now have a completely cooked sauce. Shut off the heat. Taste your penne for doneness. Drain your pasta and then combine with your meat sauce for the final product. Buon appetito!

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