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Playing How To Make Turkey Ragu | Easy Freezer Meal | Melissa Clark

Cookbook author and New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark shares a cozy freezer meal recipe that's perfect for busy weeknights: "It's so nice to know you have a delicious meal ready in the freezer," says Melissa.  

In this easy ragu recipe, "ground turkey is simmered with chopped tomatoes, red wine and pancetta into a rich and hearty meat sauce," Melissa says. "Use dark meat if you can find it. It's more flavorful and richer than ground breast."  

We highly recommend batch cooking a double or triple portion and stocking your freezer. Get more freezer tips and hacks from Melissa here

When you're ready to serve, boil one pound of pasta to al dente, toss with the defrosted and reheated ragu, and top each portion with a dollop of ricotta. 

For another easy Italian-inspired recipe from Melissa, check out her Easy Skillet Chicken Parm


  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small celery stalk, chopped
  • ½ onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound ground dark-meat turkey
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅓ cup red wine
  • One 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Serves: 4 to 6


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until golden and most of the fat has rendered, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. 

Add the oil to the skillet. Stir in the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft and a little golden in spots, about 7 minutes. Scrape the mixture onto a plate. 

Add the turkey to the skillet and cook, breaking up meat with a fork, until golden and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Return pancetta and vegetables to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine; cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until it is mostly evaporated. Add the crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. 

If freezing, let cool then transfer to a gallon-size freezer bag. Seal, removing as much air as possible, and freeze for up to 3 months. 

When ready to serve (or if serving immediately), cook 1 pound pasta to al dente, toss with the defrosted and reheated ragu, and top each portion with a dollop of ricotta.