Recipe: Fettuccine with Turkey Bolognese Sauce

This lean Thanksgiving-themed dish is perfect for lunch or a first course at dinner.

The following recipe, created by Francesca Montillo, appears on The Lazy Italian. 

Fettuccine with Lazy & Light Turkey Bolognese Sauce

Now I know I am in the minority, and I’m OK with that. Food is all about a matter of preferences, right, and it should be that way. Recipes were created to be adapted by taste, so if you are reading this, you are at liberty to play around with this and all the recipes you see on this blog. With the exception of the baking ones — those are a bit more difficult to “play around” with, but Italian cooking? By all means, change the meat in this dish to beef, if you wish, I’ll take no offense. Although you should give turkey a chance just once, at least.

Speaking of playing with recipes, this is MY version of this recipe. Some Bolognese sauces call for milk or cream, some for wine, some for meat stock. Some also call for 3 to 4 hours of cooking! I can’t say that I’m fond of any of those, especially the “simmer for 4 hours” part! Who has time for that? Life is what’s happening when your sauce is cooking? Humm, no.

This is my lighter and faster version. You’ll thank me later.


  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil of your choice
  • 1 to 2 small carrots, finely diced
  • 1 to 2 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • Salt to taste – about 1 teaspoon
  • 4 oz. pre-diced pancetta
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 to 5 leaves fresh basil (if in season and available)
  • 1 16 to 20 oz. package ground turkey
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed peeled tomatoes
  • 1-1/4 cups of water  (milk or cream can be substituted for a creamer sauce)
  • 1 lb. fresh fettuccine (found in the refrigerated isle of any grocery store)


  1. In a medium sauce or sauté pan set to medium heat, add the oil, carrots, celery, onion, salt and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add pancetta and simmer for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley and basil.
  2. Add the ground turkey, and using a wooden spoon, break up the meat and brown all over, cooking it for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and water, reduce heat and allow simmering for 30 minutes.
  4. Cook fresh fettuccini according to the instructions (usually only for a few minutes) and top with the sauce.

Note: This recipe makes enough for 1 lb of fresh fettuccini. If you are using less, leftover sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for future use. Thawing in the refrigerator overnight is advised for any frozen sauce. Continue reading about this recipe at The Lazy Italian. 

Join Sunday Supper, OrderISDA’s weekly e-newsletter, for the latest serving of all things Italian. 

Make the pledge and become a member of Italian Sons of Daughters of America today!

Share your favorite recipe, and we may feature it on our website.

Join the conversation, and share recipes, travel tips and stories.