Friday, August 19, 2011

Loaded Turkey Meat Balls

I had been dying for some hearty Italian food, so I finally just made it. You can definitely use ground beef in place of the ground turkey (as usual, I chose ground turkey just because it's too easy of a tweak to make the meal healthier). But I also understand that sometimes.... you just gotta go all out and live a little! Whether you use beef or turkey or a combination of meats, these loaded meatballs -seasoned with lots of flavor and loaded with a molten mozzarella center- will certainly fill you up.

Meatball Ingredients (makes 12 large meatballs, serves 4-6):

  • 1/2 large Yellow Onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried Basil (or whichever Italian seasonings or blends you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • a few cranks of ground Black Pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 generous Tablespoon of Tomato Paste
  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey

additional ingredients if making marinara sauce:

  • 1/2 large Yellow Onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine (I used Cab Sav, but use what you like)
  • 1 can Tomato Paste (minus the Tbsp used to make the meatballs)
  • 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced Garlic
  • Basil or other Italian seasonings

Heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, then add the finely diced onions. Reduce heat to medium-low and sautee onions until golden brown and translucent (almost 10 minutes). (At this time, remove half the sauteed onion and save for use later when making the sauce). Then add the 2 tsps minced garlic and continue to saute for no more than one more minute. Transfer sauteed onion mixture to a large bowl:

toss with the bread crumbs, allow to cool a little:

Add basil, red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix well. 

Then add the remaining ingredients (egg, tomato paste, and ground turkey). Use your hands to make sure it is all mixed together. 

Form into 12 large meatballs. Push a hole into each meatball, stuff with a cube of mozzarella, and seal up the hole again. 

In the same pan as used to sautee onion, heat more E.V.O.O. and sear all the meatballs turning every few minutes until golden-browned on all sides. 

Then transfer to a 400 degree F oven for 15 minutes.

Now use your meatball pan to make your red sauce. Over medium heat, pour 1/2 cup red wine into the pan and scrape all the yummy flavors from the bottom of the pan into your sauce. Stir frequently and allow the wine to thicken. 

Then add the other half of the sauteed onions, the additional garlic, and the remainder of the tomato paste can, stir well. Then continue as with this quick marinara recipe, by adding the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and basil -or any other desired seasonings. Turn heat to LOW, and let sauce simmer so that it can thicken and all the flavors can marry together. 

Now, nestle the meatballs into the sauce. 

Give them a good stir and keep warm over LOW heat until ready to serve.

A healthier version of such a yummy comfort food, mmmm....

1 comment:

  1. Love the food! You’re amazing. This menu is fantastic:) It sure will help everyone who’s looking for a perfect menu like this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.