Big glug or two of red or white wineif you have a bottle open
4 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoespreferably in puree
½teaspoonred pepper flakesoptional
1poundpenne, rigatoni or ziti rigate (optional)(rigate means ridged, and those ridges help catch the sauce in the pasta)
In a large saucepot, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add both the ground turkey and the turkey sausages together and cook, stirring frequently, and breaking up the meat so that it’s very crumbly and browned throughout, about 4 to 6 minutes. Turn it into a strainer and let it the fat drain off.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pot over medium heat (don’t clean it! All those little bits of flavor from the meat will season the sauce). Add the onion and shallots, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and basil and cook, stirring for 2 more minutes, until you can smell the garlic and herbs. Add the wine, if using, and stir for one more minute, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom, until the wine pretty much evaporates.
Add the canned tomatoes and red pepper flakes if using, and stir to combine everything. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the cooked turkey and sausage, lower the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Taste, and season gently with the salt and pepper (the sausages provide a whole lot of seasoning).
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of coarse salt, and return the water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain, and toss with as much sauce as desired.
This recipe calls for a combination of ground turkey and turkey sausage. I like to brown them together for two reasons. One, it’s easier and faster. Two, I have the impression (based on no scientific fact) that when they are cooked together the seasonings from the much-more-flavorful turkey sausage season up the plain ground turkey, and that the two become one in a more delicious way than they would if they were cooked separately and simply met up later in the sauce.