Updated: Sep 30
In my family, you have to like pasta and red sauce. My Dad started the tradition of eating it once a week when we were growing up, because he grew up in New Jersey, and although we have no "Italian" blood to speak of, we are "Italian by osmosis". When I married Eric, I learned that he ate the same way, sometimes spaghetti multiple times each week. He is not Italian.
So, I knew this would be a regular thing once we had kids- and believe it or not, both of my children don't like red sauce. (Hmmm. Still working on them though.) The meatballs are another story- they will always eat meatballs. These turkey meatballs are simple and slightly healthier than beef, less fat, less chemicals if you can get nice ground turkey. Enjoy~
"Homemade sauce needs at least 1 1/2 hours to come together, and 2 or 3 is better. If you don't have that kind of time but still want to make meatballs, skip step number 1 and drop the meatballs after browning into 2 jars of your favorite sauce to which you have added, 1/4 cup red wine. Add fresh chopped basil just before serving."
Notes: Ground turkey is organic. Bread crumbs are unseasoned.
TURKEY MEATBALLS IN TOMATO BASIL SAUCE
Ingredients: Meatballs: 1 lb. ground turkey, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1 tsp. ground oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/4 cup milk, 2 tbsp. olive oil. Tomato Basil Sauce: 2 cans San Marzano whole tomatoes, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tbsp. tomato paste,1 tsp.. olive oil, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/4 cup red wine, 1 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. ground oregano, 1 tsp. dried parsley.
1. Make sauce: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring to keep from burning. Add wine and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Tip in whole tomatoes, salt, pepper and dried oregano, basil, and parsley. Bring to a simmer then turn down to medium-low. Cook for 1-3 hours, then blend with an immersion blender. (Add fresh basil just before serving!)
2. Make meatballs: In a large bowl, stir together (or use your hands) ground turkey, Parm, egg, bread crumbs, oregano, salt, pepper and milk. Form into 1 1/2 inch balls.
3. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is glossy, brown the balls on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Drop balls into the tomato sauce to continue cooking for 30 minutes to an hour.
Tip: You can make the meatballs gluten free by using cornmeal in place of bread crumbs. Different texture and balls will have a slightly sweet flavor.
Tip: For a more hands-off approach to cooking meatballs, you can use the oven: place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes, before dropping them into your sauce.