Turkey Bolognese with Butternut Squash and Mascarpone

Turkey Bolognese with Butternut Squash and Mascarpone

In our turkey twist on northern Italy's thick Bolognese sauce, we're using sweet mascarpone instead of the typical milk or cream, without sacrificing any luscious texture or flavor. Plus, we cut way down on the simmering time to get dinner on the table ASAP. Just toss with mini penne pasta (ideal for scooping up all the sauce), and grab a sous chef to sprinkle over the fresh basil garnish.



25 mins

Total cook time


Skill level

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Main Ingredients

  • 1 pound butternut squash
  • 1/2 ounce basil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 29 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 12 ounces mini penne
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper

Cooking Instructions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Bring a large, covered pot of water to a boil over high heat (see recipe tip). Rinse all produce. Cut butternut squash cubes to .5-inch pieces, if needed. Thinly slice basil leaves, discarding stems (see recipe tip). Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice. Mince garlic. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Step 2

On prepared baking sheet, toss squash with 1.5 tablespoons olive oil, .75 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired, then arrange in a single layer (a friend can help with this task). Roast until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes (move on to Step 3—but don't forget to come back!). Then, scatter over whole grape tomatoes and continue roasting until squash is lightly browned and tomatoes are softened, about 10 minutes more.

Step 3

While squash roasts, heat 1.5 tablespoon olive oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and sauté, stirring, until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add turkey and season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Cook, breaking up, until meat is browned, about 5 minutes.

Step 4

Add red wine to pan with turkey, still over medium-high heat. Cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is mostly evaporated, 4-5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until Bolognese is reduced and thickened, 5-7 minutes more.

Step 5

While sauce simmers, season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in mini penne and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. (P.S. This is a great time to set the table.) Then, drain penne and return to pot, off heat.

Step 6

Once Bolognese has thickened, remove pan from heat and stir in mascarpone, half of basil, .75 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine. Add cooked mini penne and roasted squash and tomatoes, and toss to coat. Divide turkey Bolognese among serving plates. Garnish with remaining basil, and dig in!

All recipe ingredients should be cooked to a safe internal temperature according to USDA guidelines. After preparing a recipe, please store any leftovers in the refrigerator.