Food has always been a big part of Olivia Culpo's life. Growing up in Rhode Island with a restauranteur father, the former Miss Universe and entrepreneur says she's been at home in the kitchen since she was in diapers. “My parents, sisters, brothers, and I always enjoyed making cooking more of a family affair,” she says. “We would come up with recipes together.”
In fact, it became her dream to one day open her own venue—one that came true three years ago with Back 40, a laid-back bar and restaurant located in North Kingstown that focuses on comfort food. “I'm a partner with my dad and cousin, and all my siblings have worked there at one point or another,” she says of the establishment. "It's very much a family-owned feel.”
Her favorite dish on the menu is the bolognese—but she felt inspired to make her own healthier version at home. Culpo's take on the dish swaps carb-heavy noodles for spaghetti squash and leaner turkey meat replaces beef. The result is an easy-to-make dish that's perfect for those week nights when you want to cook something that's filling but not too time intensive.
It's also versatile: Culpo's recipe includes instructions on how to make homemade sauce, but she says a store-bought jar totally works if you're short on time. She recommends using Rao's Homemade Arrabbiata sauce. Topping with parmesan cheese is another take-it-or-leave-it option, and Culpo likes adding Calabrian chiles for some heat. She buys hers from William Sonoma, but any grocery store brand works. And if you don't have Calabrian chiles on hand, red pepper flakes are a reliable swap.
As for what to drink with the dish, Culpo makes a case for pairing it with Vide, a line of canned cocktails that she co-founded. The vodka soda comes in different flavors—and at 99 calories with no added sugar, it's a bit better-for-you than other drinks on the market.
For Culpo, it's all about balance. “It makes it a healthier alternative that I can have all the time, instead of a treat I can only have some of the time.” Read on for how to make Olivia Culpo's special turkey bolognese.
Olivia Culpo's Turkey Bolognese With Spaghetti Squash
Serves 3-4 people.Ingredients
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
Maldon salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 medium carrot sticks, coined
2 celery sticks, cut into half moons
2 cans crushed tomatoes
½ cup white wine
½ cup whole milk
1 spaghetti squash
1 lb. ground turkey
Optional: Calabrian chiles in oil or red pepper flakes to taste. You can also top with parmesan cheese to taste.Instructions
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Make the sauce! On the stove, bring whole milk to a simmer. Then add in wine and stir. Once the wine has evaporated, add in crushed tomato and bring to a boil. Once bubbling, bring heat down to low and let sauce cook uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour. If dry, you can add some water. At the end, there should be no water remaining. Taste sauce and add salt to correct. [Note: If you're looking for a shortcut, Culpo recommends swapping the homemade sauce for a store-bought jar; if so, skip this step and head straight to preparing your spaghetti squash.]
Next, prepare the spaghetti squash: Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and ribbing. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and use a fork to poke holes on the top.
Roast 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned on the outside. The squash should be fork tender but still a little firm. Time varies depending on the size of the squash. Remove from oven and flip the squash so it's cut side up. When cool to the touch, use a fork to scrape and fluff the strands from the side of the squash.
Meanwhile, heat 3-4 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat on the stove in a large skillet. Add onions and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 8 minutes.
Add celery and carrots to the pan and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.
Add ground turkey and stir, but don't break up too much. (So you don't dry it out!) Cook turkey until it is no longer pink.
Add in your sauce, then the cooked spaghetti squash that has been scraped out. Season with Calabrian chiles or red pepper flakes if you like heat.
Anna Moeslein is the senior entertainment editor at Glamour.
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Anna Moeslein