Turkey in Tomato Sauce (Spezzatino di Tacchino)

In Italian spezzatino means a stew in which the meat has been cut into pieces. It can be made from many kinds of meat, and in this case I opted for turkey. Lean and tender meat like turkey breast is not suitable for stewing, so I used boneless and skinless turkey thigh meat instead. Italian stews in most cases include the trinity of carrot, celery, and onion. They can include tomato (rosso = red) or not (bianco = white). In this case I decided to make a rosso version, and included garlic and sage as well. I cooked the turkey sous-vide, but you could also cook it gently on the stove or in the oven.

You can serve this stew in two stages: first a primo piatto of pasta with about two thirds of the sauce, and then a secondo piatto of the meat with the remaining sauce (and a vegetable side).


Serves 2

300 grams (.66 lb) boneless and skinless turkey thigh

1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 celery stick, all minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp minced fresh sage

60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 can (400 grams/14 oz) peeled tomatoes, pureed in the food processor

salt and freshly ground black pepper

150-200 grams (.33-.44 lb) short pasta, if serving a primo


Cut the turkey meat into pieces and season them on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan or casserole. Brown the turkey pieces over medium-high heat…

…until golden on all sides.

Transfer the turkey to a plate using a slotted spoon, and reserve.

Add minced onion, celery, and carrot. Season with salt.

Stir over medium heat until the vegetables start to color, then add the minced garlic and sage, and stir for another minute.

Deglaze with the white wine, and stir to include any browned bits attached to the bottom of the pan.

Now add the pureed tomatoes.

Stir and bring to a boil. If you are not cooking sous-vide, this is where you add the meat back to the sauce, and simmer over very low heat until the turkey is tender, stirring regularly.

If cooking sous-vide, cook over low heat until the sauce is very thick, stirring regularly. As there won’t be any evaporation when cooking sous-vide, all of the sauce reduction needs to happen before the sous-vide step.

Turn off the heat and add the reserved turkey pieces.

Stir to mix.

If using a ziploc bag, transfer everything to such a bag and use the water displacement method to seal the bag.

If using a chamber vacuum sealer, allow everything to cool to refrigerator temperature before vacuum sealing.

Cook sous-vide for 24 hours at 62C/144F.

After cooking sous-vide, open the bag and transfer the sauce to a pan (not the meat). Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.

If you like you can cook some short pasta, fusilli is a great shape for this kind of sauce, and add this to two thirds of the sauce with some freshly grated parmigiano.

And then stir to mix, and serve.

Serve the meat with the remaining sauce, reheating the meat briefly in the sauce.

Wine pairing

This is great with a dry rosé.



The second part of the soul food feast we prepared was smothered pork chops. This is a simple but tasty recipe: pork chops that are cooked low and slow in onion gravy.


8 thoughts on “Turkey in Tomato Sauce (Spezzatino di Tacchino)

  1. Have never cooked turkey thus, tho’ greatly ‘approve’ of the meat both for taste and health , , , , yes to you making it ‘primo’ and ‘secondo; – shall copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like a delicious meal for a slightly chilly spring day like we have been having. Spring began with high temperatures and high humidity but the last few days feel like fall. I love how flavour rich this sauce is without cream. I also love the pasta you selected, it has many-a-crevice to hold the sauce.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.