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    Recipe: Here’s why you should serve a turkey dinner in the spring
    • March 25, 2024

    Save turkey for holiday feasting? Not anymore. A boneless turkey breast, roasted in just over an hour, can be a midweek entrée, or the cornerstone of a company dinner.

    Lean and lovely boned turkey breasts, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, require very little of the cook’s attention. Once the flavoring ingredients are added and the bird is in the oven, most of the work is done. It’s the perfect amount for a small family, with four large or six small servings. For smaller families, there will be luscious leftovers, perfect for next-day lunches.

    Mediterranean Turkey Breast

    Yield: 6 servings


    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    1 boneless turkey breast, skin on, about 1 1/2 pounds; see cook’s notes

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    8 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

    1 1/2 cups dry white wine

    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced “ready-cut” tomatoes, partially drained

    1/3 cup pitted imported black olives

    3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)

    Pinch dried red chili flakes

    1 tablespoon tomato paste

    Salt and pepper

    For serving: Fettuccine or penne, cooked al dente and drained

    Optional: 1/2-1 teaspoon finely minced lemon peel (zest), colored part only

    Optional garnish: 1 tablespoon drained capers

    Optional garnish: Sprigs of fresh basil

    Cook’s notes: If the turkey breast has a pop-up timer, gently remove it.

    To save time, you can substitute a large jar of your favorite prepared tomato-based marinara pasta sauce, such as arrabiatta or tomato with basil and skip Step No. 2.


    1. Lightly dust turkey with flour. Heat olive oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add turkey breast, skin down. Brown well on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Remove turkey from pan.

    2. Add garlic to pan; the oil in the pan will probably be hot enough to lightly brown the garlic after 1-2 minutes; stir it frequently. Add wine and tomatoes to pan. Return to medium-high heat. Scrape the sides and bottom of pan to loosen any brown bits. Add basil, oregano, chili flakes and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer.

    3. Place turkey breast in center of sauce. Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Test turkey breast for doneness using an instant-read thermometer. It should register 170 degrees in thickest part of breast. Taste sauce; adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt or pepper. If it needs a boost, add a little finely minced lemon zest.

    4. If desired, remove skin from turkey. Place hot, cooked pasta on a platter with a lip or in a large, shallow pasta bowl. Place sliced turkey on top, overlapping slightly like a fan. Spoon sauce on top. If desired, sprinkle capers on top. Garnish with sprigs of fresh basil.

    Award-winning food writer Cathy Thomas has written three cookbooks, including “50 Best Plants on the Planet.” Follow her at @CathyThomas

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    ​ Orange County Register