What’s Cooking – Spicy Pasta

Spicy pasta is one of my favorite dishes to cook and it’s one of my husband’s favorite dishes that I cook. I started out by following a recipe for something very different, and it’s evolved into this. It’s a great cold weather meal, but we eat it year round. It’s quick to make (takes about 20 minutes) or you can make it ahead.

Here’s what you’ll need!


  • Pasta
  • Red sauce (in the summer I just use fresh tomatoes)
  • Ground turkey (Beef or chicken work too – if you’re not a meat eater you can also make it, just skip the part where the meat gets added!)
  • Fresh garlic
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

I also use frozen peas so I don’t have to make a separate vegetable. I used mini portabella mushrooms when I made this since we had them, so you’ll see those in the pictures too.

Here’s how you make it!
Just a quick note – I won’t be giving out exact measurements for ingredients… this is cooking, not baking. I prefer to make this pretty spicy with a ton of garlic which may be more than some people like.

First, put on a pot of water to boil for your pasta. While this is heating up to a boil, mince up a few cloves of garlic. Set half of it aside. Next, pour some olive oil in the pan and sprinkle it with red pepper flakes and half of the garlic and turn the heat on to medium.


When it starts to sizzle, go ahead and throw in your ground turkey. I use half of the full pound and freeze the other half for future dinners since there is only two of us to feed. Season your ground turkey with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if you like a lot of garlic!).


Cook your turkey until it browns. At this point the pasta water should be boiling so if you’ve chosen a noodle that takes a little longer to cook then follow the packaged instructions for cooking.

Next, pour some of the sauce into the pan. You may have to turn the heat down low. Now is when I usually throw in the frozen peas as well so they can cook through. I usually season the sauce because I get basic marinara – this is especially good in the early summer and late fall when we have fresh rosemary and sage from our garden, but no tomatoes. This is also the time to throw in the rest of the minced garlic.


Let it simmer so the peas cook and the sauce gets warm. If it’s done before the pasta, turn the heat off and cover the pan to keep it warm.

Once the pasta is finished, spoon it into the pan with the turkey and sauce. The heat should be off. I spoon it with a slotted spoon directly from the pot so that some water is able to get into the sauce. This keeps it creamy and smooth. If you want it to be extra creamy, throw in some plain greek yogurt and mix it up.


Carefully fold the sauce over the pasta so everything gets mixed. Then spoon into a bowl and enjoy! A little crumbled goat cheese on top is a delicious addition.


I always make extra to take for lunch the next day so that my lunch is packed. Another great thing about this meal is clean up – it’s just a cutting board, a knife, two spoons (or a spoon and a spatula), a pot, and a pan. Nice and quick when dinner is done.


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