Skinnier Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Bolognese Ragu

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By switching out the pork sausage in favor of chicken or turkey sausage, eliminating the olive oil, reducing the amount of cheese, and using half-and-half over heavy whipping cream this lighter version is only 369 calories per serving. (Traditional Bolognese Sauce is 539 calories per serving.)

This makes A LOT of sauce! It covers a pound of pasta very well, or you can freeze some for later.


  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • Cooking spray *
  • 1 1/2 cup water *
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb hot chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup minced roasted red pepper (jar)
  • 16 oz beef broth, low-sodium
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped, fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh preferred but not necessary)
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked to box instructions
  • Cooking spray

What you need:

  • 2 large cooking pots
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • knife and cutting board
  • can opener
  • strainer
  • food processor (handy, but optional)

*Cooking spray and water are used to cook onion, carrots, and celery in lieu of oil.

Use a food processor to pulse carrots, onion, and celery into small dices.

In a large pot add the cooking spray and sauté the onions, celery, carrots on medium-high heat until they are soft, about 15 minutes, adding 1/4 cup of water each time it disappears.

Add garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Add the sausage. Season with pepper, and break up the meat with a spoon and fry until no longer pink.

Next, add the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and red wine. Stir and reduce until the wine has almost completely evaporated.

Now add the tomatoes, red pepper, broth, and bay leaves. Stir to ensure everything is well mixed.

Simmer for 30 minutes to 3 hours. (If using an Instant Pot, simmer at around 200 degrees.) The longer the simmer, the deeper and more concentrated the flavor.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta so that it’s finished cooking at the end of the simmer time for the sauce. Once the sauce is finished simmering, turn off the stove. Stir in the fresh chopped spinach and parmesan. Let the spinach steam for 5 minutes. Then stir in the half and half.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Serve with more parmesan, if desired.

Serves 8 very hungry people. 369 calories/serving

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