If I’m at an Italian restaurant, I will never order the spaghetti and meatballs. I think it’s because I am not a huge ground beef fan, and my childhood was spent avoiding all meaty/tomato sauces.
But then I found my discount meat bin, and with it new ways to eat meatballs: ground turkey!
Turkey is very lean, and I found that my meatballs didn’t stay together that well, but I also did not use a nonstick skillet (big mistake), so I’ll learn next time. In the end, it tasted great and made plenty for leftovers, but I hate that fried smell all over my house. I wish I could say that next time I’ll bake the meatballs in the oven, but that is just crazy talk. You just need that olive oil taste. I suppose I can just live with it and keep the fan on.
Here’s how I did it:
Combine 1 lb ground turkey with 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs (I used an old coffee grinder to do this), 3 T chopped parsley, 2 T evoo, two grated garlic cloves (or minced), two eggs (lightly beaten), a couple shakes of red pepper flakes, 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese and salt & pepper.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil. (meanwhile, put the pot of water on for the pasta) Form the meat into balls (golf ball sized or smaller) and place in the hot pan. Cook until golden on all sides and then remove to a plate or paper towels to drain. Do the same with the rest of the meat and then set aside.
Start cooking the pasta while you prepare the sauce (you can buy jarred sauce, but I had all the stuff, so I made it myself). When the meatballs are all done, put them aside and wipe out the pan. Put the pan back on the heat with another tablespoon of olive oil and add three chopped garlic cloves. Then, add a tablespoon of anchovy paste and stir until it melts into the oil. Then, add a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes (the cheapest brand is fine) and stir to combine. Stir in a handful of chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the pasta is done, then add the meatballs to the sauce to heat through.
To serve, plate up a twist of spaghetti noodles and top with the sauce and meatballs. Finish with more Parmesan cheese. I promise this will feed a crowd – it is appealing as a comfort food, and gourmet, if you make your own meatballs and sauce.
And, more importantly, it’s cheap and hearty!