For chefs in Cooking Club, one meal always is sure to bring a smile. They love making spaghetti. “I made spaghetti and meatballs for my family,” Angela Darden reported in Week 2. “Can we make that here?” In Week 3, we didn’t get to make spaghetti and meatballs, but we had a close substitute.

Turkey Sausage Bolognese is another Italian meal that features pasta, red sauce and ground meat (though not rolled into balls). Unfortunately, Angela couldn’t make our class, but the chefs who did more than made up for her absence. They were amped up with energy from start to finish to the point we almost had to tie them down.

This version of Bolognese is a “quick” recipe designed for fast and easy preparation. And the side salad we prepared was also fast and easy, with simple spring greens and a homemade lemon dressing.

In the spirit of fast, our chefs jumped right in to handle the chopping. Joel Rodriguez wanted another shot at onions, even though his eyes had teared up with them the previous week. He did much better this time around, and Jomarys Vega Santos had no problem at all. Both liked cutting with our new safety gloves and handled two of our biggest knives with confidence.

Meanwhile, Mayalee Ramos took on the zucchini, slicing them lengthwise and then into “half moons.” She liked learning that the term is based on the halfway phase of the moon at night and how foods can be described by comparing them to other things.

While Joel, Jomarys and Mayalee were getting the veggies into shape, JoshLynn Hill was creating a “half moon” of her own by slicing a lemon in half for the salad dressing. With Joel’s assistance, she demonstrated smooth skill using our bright yellow juicer to produce the juice we would need for the dressing.

As soon as she had finished, JoshLynn wanted to know if it was time to put the penne pasta in to cook, and was disappointed to learn the water was not boiling enough. But there was still cooking to be done, and she, Joel and Mayalee teamed up to get the onion and zucchini sauteéing. That was fun, but even more appealing was cooking the meat, which everyone wanted to do all at once. As a team solution, each chef got to separate one-quarter of the meat and break it up in the sauteé pan to brown. When it was ready, Joel added the crushed tomatoes and sour cream, and everyone was surprised at how it turned the color of the sauce from red to creamy orange.

As this simmered, the water finally reached a full boil, and JoshLynn got her wish to pour half the pasta into the pot. Mayalee and Joel divided the rest and learned that the first step for pasta is to stir it so it doesn’t stick to the bottom as the water returns to a boil.

When all the ingredients were ready, we served them on plates in the kitchen to take to the table. Jomarys was so excited she couldn’t resist spearing a piece while on her way and gave it quick thumbs up. When we sat down, there was a nice satisfied silence as our chefs dug in.

“I think everything is wonderful,” Jomarys said. “This is so good.”

JoshLynn wasn’t as sold on the sausage, but enthused “the noodles are really good. I really like these noodles. Out of 10 I would give them 100!”

Joel let his actions speak for his feelings. “I’m going to get some more,” he said, after finishing his first plate. And later, he asked “Can I take some home to my mom?”