This Cheesy Ground Turkey Pasta dish is a fast and tasty one skillet recipe made with lean ground turkey that’s simmered in a creamy tomato broth base and topped with cheese. Serve it with our New York style Garlic knots for a perfect weeknight meal.
Why This Recipe Works
When I asked what recipes you wanted in our Facebook group you said “easy” and “weeknight”. So I give you both!
We are using lean ground turkey (less red meat is better), spices and penne pasta that all simmers together in a creamy chicken broth and tomato base, all in the same skillet. You know how much I love that!
Let’s get started, shall we?
- Penne Pasta: Although penne pasta is the go-to for this recipe, you can also use a different kind of your choice. I found the penne holds up well with the chunks of turkey.
- Seasonings: Sea salt, pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, dried parsley, and sugar come together to create the traditional Italian pasta taste.
- Vegetables: Onion and yellow pepper add both flavor and texture to the penne pasta.
- Cheese: You’ll use two types of cheese – Mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese. But this is not the golden rule. I think Gouda is my favorite cheese of all time or even a smoked cheese would change things up here.
- Sauce: The sauce is created using a combination of olive oil, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, and half and half cream.
- Turkey: Ground lean turkey gives this recipe a slightly meaty taste without being overpowering, plus it cuts down on saturated fat you would find with ground beef.
Easy Step-by-Step Directions
- Step One – Sauté the onions and peppers. Add the ground turkey and garlic. Add the seasonings and flour. Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, water, sugar, and remaining salt.
- Step Two – Add the penne pasta.
- Step Three – Cook uncovered until al dente.
- Step Four – Turn the heat to low and add half and half.
- Step Five – Slowly add the cheese a handful at a time until melted.
- Step Six – Cover the pasta with a lid and allow the cheese to continue melting and the pasta to continue absorbing the liquid for approximately 10 minutes.
How to Serve One Skillet Cheesy Turkey Penne Pasta
- This one-skillet meal can be served as is; however, you can’t go wrong by pairing it with some garlic bread (like our garlic knots).
- You can also top it with extra fresh parsley, shredded cheese, or a dash of crushed red pepper.
- Side options to consider are steamed broccoli or other veggies of your choice.
- Can I use a different kind of meat in this recipe? Of course! Ground beef, ground chicken, or ground sausage can be used in place of the turkey.
- How can I make this even more healthy? Add more veggies! Consider adding more bell peppers (like red peppers) and baby spinach to the recipe.
- Can I use whole wheat pasta? Yes! In fact, that would make it even healthier!
- How do I store the leftovers? Any leftover pasta can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It also freezes well for up to 3 months when kept in a freezer-safe container or bag.
Looking for more Weeknight Meals. Try these:
Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet – similar to this recipe but it uses ground beef and elbow macaroni (think Hamburger Helper)
Turkey Lettuce Wraps – low carb and sinfully addictive
Healthy Weeknight Turkey Chili – less fat than beef but all the flavorPrint
You asked us to create more one skillet dinners and this one hits all the notes. Lean ground turkey, spices, pasta, creamy tomato sauce and cheese AND it’s on the table in under 45 minutes.
- 2 Cups Penne Pasta
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- ½ Cup Onion, diced
- ½ Cup Yellow Pepper, diced
- 1 Lb. Ground Lean Turkey
- 3 teaspoons minced Garlic
- 2 teaspoons Sea Salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
- 2 Tablespoons Flour
- 2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 (15 oz. can) Crushed Tomatoes (+ ½ Can of Water)
- 1 Tbsp. Sugar
- ½ Cup Half and Half Cream
- 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
- Heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook until softened, approx. 2-3 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Add the ground turkey and garlic, breaking up the turkey up with a wooden spoon. When the turkey is about ¾ of the way cooked, add the Italian seasonings, parsley, 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ tsp of pepper.
- Once the turkey is cooked through, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon for at least 1 minute.
- Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, water, sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Add the penne pasta and cook uncovered until al dente (12 minutes), stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
- Turn the heat to low and add the half and half. Stir to combine. Slowly add the cheese a handful at a time until melted.
- Cover the pasta with a lid and allow the cheese to continue melting and the pasta to continue absorbing the liquid for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits. This dish will remain hot for quite some time and gets better as it sits.
- Serve with New York Style Garlic knots and a salad for a complete meal.