Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Turkey Meatballs

My very favorite birthday meal growing up was my mother's meatballs. I know, right? Meatballs? Random. But they were so delicious, I requested them year after year. My dad always marveled at how I'd eat them right out of the oven, without sauce or anything. They were that good. The leftovers made a great lunch the next day, wedged in between some really yummy Italian bread...delicious.

With my birthday coming up in a few days, I had the urge to re-create my favorite celebratory meal. Instead of using the traditional ground beef, I decided to try something new--ground turkey. Turns out, they might be my new favorite (sorry, mom).

I combined my mom's recipe with a recipe from Giada's Everyday Italian. By the way, I adore Giada. One day I'm going to dedicate a whole week to Giada recipes. Or maybe a month...there are a lot I'm dying to try.

ANYway, here's the recipe:

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis, Everyday Italian


1/4 cup dried Italian bread crumbs

2 tablespoons milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan

1 pound ground turkey

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 cups tomato sauce (NOTE: I don't love tomato sauce, so I actually used some Vodka sauce I had in the fridge. It was delicious!)

1 pound dried penne pasta

Additional fresh Parmesan for garnish


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients (add turkey last) and mix well, being careful not to overwork the meat. Season with salt and pepper and shape into golf-size balls.

Arrange meatballs on ungreased baking sheet and cook for 30-35 minutes, turning once.

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.

Heat your sauce of choice (if you are not making homemade, like me) over medium heat until warm. Add meatballs and cooked penne, toss well to coat. Pour into serving dishes and garnish with fresh Parmesan. Enjoy!