Every year when we decorate the Christmas tree, I try to make something really special for dinner. Something I’ve really come to love now that I’m an adult is creating my own holiday traditions. For the past five years, we decorate the same K-Mart tree I’ve had since college (which was 40 dollars and a little worse for the wear) and we eat spaghetti and meatballs, drink lots of wine, and listen to A Charlie Brown Christmas on repeat. Nothing says holidays to me like spaghetti and meatballs. But this year, out of sheer laziness, I decided on something a little easier. I made a Roasted Tomato and Turkey Bolognese, which is a delightfully quicker and lighter alternative to my usual fare, plus it has a secret ingredient that takes it to the next level!
Let’s get started on this recipe! My secret ingredient is Trader Joe’s Bomba Sauce, which is just fermented Calabrian Chiles. It add a lot of heat and so much depth of flavor. Try not to skip it! I use it for everything lately. It’s amazing on egg sandwiches or in any pastas. You can also buy a similar brand online here.
I’m going to lay out this recipe for you in minutes for you like a crazy person so you can gauge a little better how to multitask and time everything perfectly.
6:00 pm Preheat the oven to 425. While the oven preheats, chop your onion, mince your garlic, and chop your sage. Halve the cherry tomatoes.
6:05 pm Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil in an 8×8 baking dish. Add the cherry tomatoes and sprinkle them with salt. Toss everything to coat it.
6:10 pm The oven is preheated. Add the tomatoes to the oven and set a 25 minute timer. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, and don’t forget to salt the water.
6:12 pm In a large deep skillet or dutch oven, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter. Add the onion and saute for ten minutes, or until completely translucent.
6:22 pm The water is not quite boiling yet. Add the minced garlic, dried oregano, and chopped sage to the onions and sauté for one minute. Add the turkey, salt it, and begin to chop it up as it cooks in the pan. There should be no remaining pink when it’s done.
6:27 pm The water is boiling, but our sauce will take 20 minutes to cook down, so wait to add the rigatoni. Use your hands to crush the san marzano tomatoes into the sauce. Pour in any remaining sauce, a half cup of water, a pinch of salt, and stir to coat.
6:30 pm Your roasted tomatoes should be done. Add these and any oil remaining to the sauce. Stir to coat everything. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
6:43 pm Add the bomba sauce to the tomato sauce. Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and set a seven minute timer.
6:50 pm Drain the rigatoni. Taste the sauce for seasoning. Add the rigatoni to the sauce pan. Stir it to coat, and cook on low for one minute. Serve immediately topped with parmigiano reggiano cheese.
See the full recipe below.
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- kosher salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 lb ground turkey, 85% lean
- 28 oz can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp Trader Joes Bomba Sauce or Fermented Calabrian Chile Paste (optional)
- 1 lb rigatoni
- grated parmigiano reggiano cheese for serving
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Add the halved cherry tomatoes to a small baking dish (8x8 inches). Drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring 4 qts of generously salted water to a boil for your pasta. Once boiling, add the rigatoni and cook for roughly 7 minutes to al dente and drain.
- While you wait on the water to boil, in a large, deep skillet or a dutch oven, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently until the onion is translucent and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the sage, garlic, and oregano, and stir, cooking 1 minute. Add the turkey and add a couple pinches of salt. Use a spatula to break up the meat finely as it cooks, stirring continuously until no pink remains.
- Use your hands to squeeze and crush the san marzano tomatoes into the pan. Pour in the remaining sauce from the can. Add water and stir everything to coat. Add the roasted tomatoes to the sauce and stir. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes. Taste for salt and add any seasoning. Stir in the bomba chile paste.
- Add your drained rigatoni to the sauce and cook on low for a minute to let the pasta absorb the flavors.