COOK CLUB: Corridor cooks make ragu recipe their own

Carly Weber
Published: January 23 2014 | 8:31 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:32 am in
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Earlier this month we introduced you to The Gazette KCRG-TV9 Cook Club’s January cooking technique with a recipe for Turkey Ragu with Spaghetti Squash simmered in the slow cooker.

We asked you to cook it with us and share your results on Facebook (Facebook.com/GazetteKCRGCookClub), Pinterest (GazetteKCRGCook) and Instagram (#GazetteKCRGCookClub) or via email at features@sourcemedia.net.

We’ve loved hearing from so many corridor cooks, all of whom took us up on our suggestion that they make the recipe their own by making substitutions to suit their tastes and pantry staples.

Raylene Gross made the recipe with what she had on hand. She left out the celery and the rosemary and swapped Jimmy Dean sage flavored sausage for the turkey. She also added fresh spinach and chunks of frozen yellow summer squash.

The result? Just ask her father-in-law.

He said “‘You can make this anytime!’ and my very picky husband even liked it!” wrote Gross on our Facebook page.

Other Facebook fans told us that they swapped out dried rosemary for fresh or ground turkey for the spicier turkey sausage.

The dish was delicious, though, wrote Sarah Koenig Cisco on our  Facebook page: “Yummy! Will be making it again in the future.”

We made it another time, too. Like others, we made the same rosemary and turkey substitutions, so we added red pepper flakes to kick up the heat.

Instead of serving with spaghetti squash, we used the ragu to make a lasagna in the slow cooker. The ragu simmered in the morning and the lasagna cooked in the afternoon.

Pat Nielsen wrote in via email to tell us that the recipe — which she adapted by adding one 8-ounce can of tomato sauce “because we like a thicker sauce” and Italian turkey sausage — was a hit with her husband and neighbors.

“Everyone loved it!,” she wrote. “It was easy to prepare and serve. The ragu, spaghetti squash and a green salad made a nice winter meal.”

Anne Johnson changed the recipe so much that she now calls Spicy Chicken Meatball Ragout. Instead of ground turkey she used a 12-ounce package or Aidells Spicy Mango & Jalapeno Meatballs chopped roughly and added to the veggie mix. Like others, she used 2/3 of a teaspoon of dried rosemary instead of the sprig, and because she’s not a fan of the texture, taste and work involved in spaghetti squash, she served the dish with brown rice.

“I will definitely make this again and again,” she wrote. “The spiciness of the meatballs is a great contrast to the sweetness of the carrots and tomatoes.”

On the other hand, Marion Hy-Vee dietitian and chef Jen Heringhausen made our ragu exactly as written. She shared the results on her blog Cookingiscaring.blogspot.com. One of our Cook Club goals is to share healthy recipes, so we loved that this was the first time she’d cooked with and eaten spaghetti squash.

“We will definitely be making other dishes with it soon,” she wrote. “This dish is definitely a keeper.”

Because we kicked off the club with the slow cooker, we thought we’d sweeten the pot — or in this case, the Crock-Pot — by giving away a slow cooker this month.

We’ll draw from the names of all those who join us by sending in a recipe, photo, tip or trick. So be sure to tell us who you are and how to reach you. You still have until the end of the month to submit your recipes.

In case you need a reminder, find the original recipe, here.

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Is there other feedback and/or ideas you want to share with us? Tell us here.