Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fennel and Ground Turkey Ragu

I suppose I should address the long absence.  I don't even really have an excuse for my lack of posting in the last FIVE MONTHS.  Mostly, I suppose, I got busy and blogging fell to the bottom of my to-do list.  My new apartment in Texas is in a fantastic location and I love living here but the kitchen is small and inconvenient which means I usually would rather be doing something else than standing around in the kitchen.

My mom and dad came to TX and visited for the month of January and hanging out with my mom reminded me of how much I really do love to cook.  So when she left yesterday I put on my apron and decided to get back into the kitchen.  Furthering my motivation to start posting again I was finally able to convince my apartment manager to replace my  oven which has been broken since August when it stopped preheating properly normally taking over an hour to get to 350!  So I am back.  Hopefully for a while because I really love food blogging.

For my first post back I made something inspired by a dish that I saw Rachael Ray make a few days ago on the Rachael Ray show.  It was a white ragu that used ground chicken, fennel, stock, and white wine.  It seemed super interesting and unlike anything that I had made before so I thought I would try it out.  I actually didn't love some of the ingredients in her recipe so I adapted it to our tastes.  It turned out delicious!  Definitely a keeper.

I'm happy to be back and hope that anyone that did stop by while the site was "dark" they didn't miss me too much and didn't give up on my recipes.  Hopefully this is a great one to welcome me back into business and you'll stop by again soon.

Fennel and Ground Turkey Ragu Recipe

yields 3-4 servings
8 oz spaghetti noodles
1 1/2 T. olive oil
10 oz ground turkey (or ground chicken)
1/2 fennel bulb, finely chopped - fronds reserved and chopped for garnish
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped (about 2 ribs)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T. fresh thyme
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 T. half and half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 t. each salt and pepper

1) Cook spaghetti according to instructions on the package, drain and set aside - reserving 1/2 cup of the water the noodles cooked in for later.

2) Add olive oil and turkey to a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until no longer pink, crumbling the turkey into small pieces with a wooden spoon.

3) Reduce the heat to medium and add in the fennel, onion, celery, garlic, and thyme to the turkey mixture.  Cook until the veggies are tender - about 8 minutes.

4) Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping any bits that stick to the bottom with a spoon as the wine simmers.  Add the stock and half and half and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce begins to reduce.  Add the salt and pepper - more to taste if necessary.

5) Toss in the Parmesan cheese and the noodles, adding a some of the reserved noodle water to loosen up the sauce if necessary.

6) Serve with extra Parmesan and some of the fennel fronds as garnish.

Recipe inspired by:

Pasta w Sausage and White Beans
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Fresh Pasta

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