January 19, 2010

Classic Comfort Food: Spaghetti & Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs & Spaghetti

I've been making this turkey meatball recipe for the past four years. Brandon mentioned that I haven't made it in a while and I thought I'd be the perfect meal for our stormy week. I have trouble eating ground beef so I've always made these using ground turkey, not only is it healthier but I think they turn out just as moist and flavorful. Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe in Barefoot Contessa Family Style (a great cookbook with reliable comfort food recipes). The portions below are enough to serve four people, I usually freeze half in some sauce for another night.

Italian Turkey Meatballs
Serves 4 people

1 pound ground turkey
¾ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten (only use half the beaten egg)
Olive oil

Place everything but the olive oil in a large bowl with ½ cup warm water. Stir until just combined until using a wide spoon then use your hands to finish mixing until thoroughly moist. Lightly form the mixture into 1 ½-inch meatballs. You will have roughly 18-20 meatballs.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and coat a cookie sheet with olive oil spray. Heat a skillet over medium high heat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Place half the formed meatballs in the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Gently turn the meatballs over while cooking to ensure even browning and to help them keep their round shape. Spread cooked meatballs out on the cookie sheet, then cook the remaining half.

Once all the meatballs are browned, cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until cooked through. When serving this with spaghetti I use a canned sauce because I'm 1. too lazy to make my own and 2. never liked any of the homemade tomato sauces I've attempted. I start heating the sauce on low when I put the meatballs in the oven.

When the meatballs are done, add them to the warmed sauce and cook for at least five minutes then serve. If freezing, reserve some sauce to freeze the meatballs in. I've found this keeps them moist when reheating.

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