Thursday, September 8, 2016

It’s Time for Turkey Meatballs!

It’s almost time to start making fall comfort foods! Even though the meteorologists are forecasting 90 degree days this upcoming weekend here in New York, it was a little cooler earlier in the week. And the cooler weather made it the perfect time to try spaghetti and meatballs. 

I usually make my meatballs with ground beef, Greek-style with mint (like my mom does), but I decided to try ground turkey this time and make it with more of an Italian flavor. Giada has a good recipe that I based this on. I like some of her recipes, but I find her annoying. I grew up in a predominately Italian neighborhood (people who recently immigrated and also people whose families have been here in the US for a couple of generations) and nobody pronounces spaghetti as “spa-GHEE-TEE,” ever. Maybe it’s a dialect thing – she’s from Rome and my friends and old neighbors are from Southern Italy? Or maybe she likes to over-enunciate her words? In any case, she adds ketchup to her turkey meatballs, so I wanted to try that here. Let's see how that works. 

Also, incorporated into this recipe, is my favorite tomato sauce by Marcella Hazan from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. So simple, yet it's the best! I started the sauce first so that it would cook while I made the meatballs. I used 99% lean turkey and the meatballs were not dry at all, but you can use a pack of less lean ground turkey, if you wish. After browning the meatballs, I cooked them for about 20 minutes in the sauce. The sauce thickened up and the meatballs took on the flavor of the sauce.

You can probably see in the picture with the food plated that I added some spaghetti squash on top of the spaghetti before the meatballs and sauce. This is a great way to incorporate vegetables into your meals! I just baked a halved spaghetti squash for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees and ran a fork through it to remove spaghetti-like strands. Just be careful cutting that thing – or poke some holes in it with a fork so that it doesn't explode and soften it in the microwave first. 

What are your favorite fall comfort foods?


Turkey Meatballs with Sauce
(serves 4)


For the tomato sauce

2 -28 oz cans san Marzano tomatoes (or peeled tomatoes)
½ medium onion, left intact (no chopping)
1 stick butter (8 Tbsp)

For the meatballs

¼ medium onion, chopped (or ½ tsp onion powder)
2 garlic cloves, minced (or ½ tsp garlic powder)
1 egg
3 Tbsp ketchup
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs (if you use seasoned, adjust the other spices)
1.3 lbs Ground Turkey (I used 99% lean here, but use what you want)
1 tsp dried parsley (or ¼ cup fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for pan frying


Start the sauce first. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the two 28 oz cans of tomatoes, the piece of onion and the stick of butter. Let it heat up to start boiling and then turn down to a medium-low simmer. Let the sauce simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring and breaking up the tomatoes occasionally, while you make the meatballs.

For the meatballs, have a bowl and a plate ready. In the bowl, combine the onion, garlic, egg, ketchup, bread crumbs, parsley, ground turkey, salt and pepper with your hands until everything is blended together. Using your hands, form the meatballs into small balls that are about 1” across and put them on the plate. From 1.3 lbs I was able to yield 36 meatballs.

Have another plate lined with 2 paper towels ready by the stove. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet or frying pan at a medium heat. Brown the meatballs in batches to avoid over-crowding the pan. Brown them on all sides for about 5 minutes total. 

I used a slotted spoon to cook them and move them to the waiting plate, where they drained.

Once your sauce has cooked 40 minutes, add the meatballs to the sauce and continue cook the meatballs in the sauce over a medium-low heat for another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. The sauce will thicken and you will have awesome meatballs and sauce for dinner!  

Serve with spaghetti, spaghetti squash or both.

Kali Orexi! 

No comments:

Post a Comment