Penne with Turkey and Broccolini


turkey penne


Character is power. Character, not circumstances, makes the man. –Booker T. Washington

Recipe and photo from a Rachel Ray show.


  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 bunch broccolini (hybrid of broccoli and kale) (about 9 ounces), tough ends trimmed, stalks and florets chopped into 1-inch pieces (I’ve never found this anywhere so broccoli it is!)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)


Brown the one pound of ground turkey in about 2 T of olive oil over medium high heat.  Let the turkey get a nice brown color so the sugars develop in the meat. Then break it up.  Throw in a chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper flake as well.  

Now for the broccolini (it’s a mild tasting blend of broccoli and kale) so add to salted water with the penne.  About halfway through the cook time, 5 minutes, add broccolini with pasta for 3 or 4 minutes and then BEFORE YOU DRAIN at sink, RESERVE A MUGFUL of the starchy cooking water.  Add this water to the pan with turkey, seasonings, etc.   That starch water is the magic that makes the pan drippings into a sauce to combine with pasta.  Add your pasta and broccolini and stir it.  Add about a cup of cheese to the top of that pasta and turkey and mix all together so the flavors gets absorbed into the pasta.  That’s why you cook pasta al dente (with a bit of a bite to it–not yet soft), just shy of the texture you want to eat it at because it keeps cooking.