March 2, 2009

Turkey Meatballs with Quick And Spicy Tomato Sauce and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

I feel much better today, compared with how I felt yesterday. I think I just got a touch of my son's cold, but thanks to some rest and modern, over-the-counter medicine, I am feelin' pretty good. I was even productive today, despite my stuffy head!
My menu plan got goofed up since I did not cook last night, so I had to re-write it again. I had to pick a dinner to omit, since last night's meal of leftovers was a necessary stand-in. I hate shifting my menu plan around once it is just throws a monkey wrench into my whole week. Thankfully, I got it figured out without stress and/or gnashing of teeth.

I have been wanting to make spaghetti and meatballs, but I am really burnt out on ground beef. I found this recipe in my Ellie Krieger cookbook, The Food You Crave, and I thought it looked really promising. I love that she uses ground turkey for the meatballs. I don't have very many ground turkey recipes up my sleeve, so I hope this one meets my expectations. I love ground turkey for the low-fat/high protein factor. This recipe sounds really yummy, and Ellie usually delivers. I will let you know how it all comes together.

Turkey Meatballs with Quick And Spicy Tomato Sauce and Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
By Ellie Krieger

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, liquid included
1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle en adobo and sauce, or more to taste
2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Cooking spray
1 pound ground turkey meat
1 slice fresh whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, pulsed into crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 box (16 ounces) whole-wheat spaghetti

Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil for pasta.

Make Sauce:
In a 4-quart saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, chipotles, oregano, rosemary, and salt. Bring all the ingredients to a low boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until liquid has evaporated slightly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. While sauce is cooking, make meatballs.

Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the turkey with all other ingredients in a large work bowl. Form into 2 1/2 -inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes, or until browned and almost entirely cooked through.

Meanwhile, remove rosemary sprig from sauce and add fresh basil. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and cook additional 10 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened and meatballs have absorbed some of the sauce. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the whole-wheat spaghetti according to package directions.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and meatballs, toss and heat through over medium heat. Divide evenly among 4 pasta bowls and garnish with parsley and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan.

Yield: 6 servings (1 serving equals about 1 1/3 cups pasta and sauce, plus 2 meatballs

The Result:
This was a total keeper! It was so delicious and yummy; we loved it. The sauce was a little spicy, but we really like spicy food at our house. The turkey meatballs were awesome...very filling and flavorful. So much so, you did not miss the traditional 'beef' or 'veal' meatballs at all. I loved the method of baking the meatballs first to get them brown, then finishing them in the sauce. Portion-wise, two meatballs were plenty...the husband and I were ridiculously full. Overall, I am really happy that I tried this twist on a classic spaghetti and meatballs dish. I would not hesitate to make this recipe again!!!

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