After traveling to Denver a few weeks ago to visit Rob’s family, I got home and was seriously craving Italian food. It’s one of my favorite foods, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I’d cooked it or gone out to eat it! Pasta, tortellini actually, was my favorite food as a kid, so I found this strange that I’d gone so long without a noodle fix!

I wanted a hearty meat sauce, but I really don’t like using ground beef. The high fat content always makes me feel sick after eating it. Turkey is a great substitute, but a lot of times it ends up being a lot tougher than I’d want.

The cure? Cook it in a Dutch oven over low heat for an extended amount of time. A crockpot would work just as well. The low slow heat seemed to break it down and left me with tender turkey meat sauce.

Needless to say, this hit the spot! I also was feeling adventurous that Sunday and made homemade whole wheat black pepper linguine. If you’ve never made homemade pasta, it’s really easy and actually fun. Oh, and a good workout for your arms if you have the hand crank machine like me!

Next time you’ve got a craving for meat sauce but want it without the guilt, this is your go to recipe. A starter of bruschetta would have been nice, but it was Sunday and I’d felt I’d put enough effort into my dinner already.

When you get an Italian craving, what’s your go to dish?



  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp black pepper


  1. Combine flours and black pepper and make a well in the middle.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs. Pour eggs into the well and slowly start incorporating flour to form the dough.
  3. Once it is all incorporated, knead on a floured surface for 8 minutes. It’ll look smooth when you’re done. And be patient, it does take a bit of time, but you’ll be so happy when it rolls smoothly!
  4. After kneading, form a tight ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Make pasta according to directions on your machine.
  6. Cook in boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente.
  7. Drain and toss with sauce. Serve with parmesan and fresh basil.


Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 419.7 kcal


Nutrition per Serving* Cal: 419.7 • Fat: 7.6g • Carb: 52.2g • Protein: 35g • Fiber: 5.1g • Sugar: 6.3g
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup red wine, something you would drink
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted garlic marinara
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Add fennel and red chili flake and cook for 1 minute to infuse oil.
  2. Add onion, parsley, oregano and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add meat and brown.
  4. Add red wine to deglaze and scrape brown bits off the bottom.
  5. Add marinara, bay leaf and cinnamon. Stir to combine and bring to a gentle boil.
  6. Lower heat and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.
  7. Stir in basil after an hour and let simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Serve over pasta.
*Nutrition information includes 2oz. of linguine per serving.

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