Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cookbook Challenge: Turkey Meatballs

This was a perfect weekend. We had drinks out with friends on Friday, I worked Saturday at my kitchen store job, and we got to catch up with an old friend today for brunch. The best part was Saturday night, though. We had been busy overall, so Joe and I decided Saturday night would be best spent hanging out at home. We watched some Arrested Development, played Trivial Pursuit, and just hung out all night. The best part, though, was the hardy and comforting Linguine with Turkey Meatballs that we had for dinner.

Last weekend ground turkey was a bogo at the grocery store, so that was the motivation for this meal. I love Italian food, yet I've never made my own meatballs. This stems from the fact that I don't eat red meat, but there was no reason it should have taken me this long to make meatballs with my favorite ground meat: turkey. And once I got the idea for meatballs, I knew this was a perfect recipe to make out of my Cookbook Challenge book for May. Giada's Everyday Italian is full of Italian staples, and they're always manageable versions of classic dishes.

This recipe was a great foundation for meatballs, and I'm sure I'll be using it again. I really liked the flavor, because it was simple yet interesting. The only problem was that the meatballs were softer than I expected. They didn't hold their shape very well, which made them a little hard to cook. I wouldn't want to dry them out with too many breadcrumbs, but I do know I need to do something else to hold them together a little better. I plan to play around with options for these meatballs, but overall I'm sure I'll make them again. What good cook doesn't have a meatball recipe in their repertoire for those lazy, stay-at-home nights?

  • ¼ cup Plain Dried Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Whole Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs (Lightly Beaten)
  • ¾ cup Grated Romano Cheese
  • 1lb Ground Turkey (Preferably Dark Meat)
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 cups Tomato Sauce
  • 1 lb whole wheat linguine


1. In a large bowl add bread crumbs milk and mix until well combined. Mix in eggs and 1/2 cup Romano cheese and mix well. Add turkey and gently combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into golf-size balls.

2. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. When almost smoking, add meatballs and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes. Turn meatballs and brown other side. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow meatballs to simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and keep warm on stove. Be careful not to overhandle the meatballs since they are soft and fragile.

3. In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse pasta with water since you want to retain the pasta natural starches so that the sauce will cling to the noodles.

4. Remove meatballs from sauce and place in serving bowl. Pour some tomato sauce over meatballs, but leave about 1 cup of sauce in skillet. Place the cooked penne into the skillet with the remaining sauce and toss well. Pour sauced pasta into a large serving bowl. Serve alongside the meatballs.

1 comment:

suze said...

60 degrees, you say? Yeah, I'm totally coming to visit. Plus, I can eat your delicious food! :) Miss you!