Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
I got a little emotional when my almost four-year-old fit in a 5T coat. Did he just skip 4T!? Lately he’s been consuming a crazy smorgasbord for dinner. It must be a growth spurt. I’ve been joking with my ravenous preschooler that he’s eating like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and will soon only have room to nibble on a leaf. That didn’t stop him from devouring a plate of spaghetti and turkey meatballs.

There is a restaurant we love with a fantastic kid’s menu where he was introduced to penne & meatballs, and he’s been obsessed ever since. It’s served on a divided plate with Parmesan in one of the compartments that he always announces he is sprinkling on top of the pasta. Of course he did the same thing at our table. My version of his favorite meal out was a total hit and has been a regular ever since.
Spaghetti and Turkey MeatballsSpaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

Serves 4-6

For tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped (*reserve 1 tablespoon for meatballs)
1 garlic clove, minced
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For meatballs
*1 tablespoon finely chopped onions
1/3 cup grated Parmesan plus more for serving
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground turkey
1 large egg
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound dried spaghetti
Chopped fresh parsley for serving

For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they start to soften about 3-4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue cooking until the onion is completely soft and translucent, an additional 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer until it starts to thicken, about 10-15 minutes. Carefully transfer the sauce in batches to a blender and process until smooth. (The sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance.)

For the meatballs, combine the onions, Parmesan, panko, garlic, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Use a fork to stir in the ground turkey and egg until just combined. Cover the mixture and chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes up to 24 hours. Scoop into 1-1/2-inch diameter balls (about 20 meatballs).

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. (Make sure they are in a single layer and not too crowded in the pan.) Transfer the meatballs to a plate as they finish browning. Carefully pour the tomato sauce into the skillet with the juices from the meatballs. Stir the meatballs into the sauce and simmer partially covered for 15-20 minutes until they are cooked through.

While the meatballs are simmering, cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Toss the spaghetti with the meatballs and sauce. Top with Parmesan and parsley before serving.

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  1. Pingback: spaghetti and turkey meatballs | Rare Norm

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