I love Parmesan but if you’re on a tight budget tangy Romano cheese is an ideal substitute at half the price. I use reduced fat cream cheese in place of heavy cream that usually appears in the traditional version.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 yellow onion, peeled quartered
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thirds
1 celery stalk, cut into thirds
3 broccoli stalks, peeled and cut into thirds
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 cups unsalted, fat-free beef broth
1 bay leaf (optional)
1/4 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound whole wheat or brown rice pasta
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta to package directions and drain. Set aside.
In a mini-chopper or food processor, chop garlic and onions. Set aside. In the same processor, chop the carrots, broccoli stalks, and celery. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and onions.
Cook 3-4 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the carrots, broccoli stalks, and celery, and cook an additional 5-6 minutes until the carrots soften, then add the tomato paste. Reduce the heat to low and cook 2-3 minutes stirring continuously until the tomato paste becomes fragrant.
Heat another large skillet over high. Add the remaining oil. Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet and brown 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the meat to the skillet with the veggies. Add the broth and bay leaf. Reduce to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the sauce reduced by half (add a little water if the mixture becomes too thick). Turn off the heat, and slowly stir in the cream cheese. Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve tableside with the Romano.
Nutritional Stats Per Serving (2 cups)
500 calories. 29 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat (4 g saturated), 68 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 516 mg sodium.