Here’s my own recipe a yummy turkey meatball in tomato sauce. It something I’ve been making regularly for years, but I never think to record what I’m putting in, or to take a photo of it. So, at long last, here it is.
I love this recipe because the turkey makes it a bit lighter than a beef meatball, and both the sauce and meatballs have a great combination of flavours. At the end of the sauce cooking time, a little secret is to add some garlic that you have just heated in a bit of butter. This one is so great if you make it ahead of time, as it only gets better when it sits. It freezes well, so if you make a big batch you will have a quick meal that you can thaw someday when you need it.
You can make the meatballs and add them to your favourite tomato sauce, or use the recipe that I’ve provided. Fresh basil is a must for the sauce, and the Parmesan rind adds some great flavour.
I’ve served this with pasta, or zucchini noodles, with some Parmesan grated on top.
What you need for the sauce:
- about 1/4 cup diced onion
- olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jar passata (strained tomato sauce)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste (optional)
- red wine (optional)
- fresh oregano
- pinch of flaked chili pepper
- parmesan rind (optional, but really makes this taste great!)
- 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
What you need for the meatballs:
- about 1/2 cup panko or other bread crumbs
- about 1/4 cup milk or cream
- 1 egg
- 400-500 grams (less than a pound) ground turkey breasts
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons onion, minced
- 2 teaspoons chanterelle mushroom powder (optional)
- butter and olive oil for frying
What you do:
- In a large frying pan or pot, heat a glug of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the diced onion and lower the heat a bit so that it cooks but doesn’t brown. Add half of the garlic and cook for a minute, just until the onions are translucent.
- Add the passata to the pot, then put some water into the jar and give it a shake to get the rest of the tomato sauce out, then add that to the pan. Add the oregano, chili pepper flakes, some of the basil, as well as the optional tomato paste and red wine. Place the Parmesan rind in the pot and let that simmer on low heat while you prepare the meatballs. The longer you cook the sauce the better!
- To make the meatballs, combine the bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl, then add the egg and mix it all together.
- Put the ground turkey, some salt and pepper, nutmeg, grated Parmesan, garlic, onion, and optional chanterelle powder in the bowl with the wet bread crumbs. Use your hands to bring the ingredients together, being careful not to over-mix.
- Add a bit of olive oil and/or butter to a large frying pan and let it get hot without burning. Form meatballs with wet hands; I find that this works best when I roll them a bit with my palms and then toss them back and forth a bit to make them round. After you form each meatball place it in the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan – you may need to do this in several batches. Roll each meatball once one side has browned, until most of the outside has been browned. They do not have to cook through, as they will continue to cook in the sauce for quite a while. Once the meatballs have browned move them from the frying pan into the pot of sauce, then continue to brown the rest of the meatballs.
- Let the sauce cook on a low simmer for at least half an hour, but preferably longer. I find that tomato sauce splatters so much, so I like to put a splatter guard over it; it keeps in the sauce, but lets the steam escape.
- Near the end of the sauce cooking time, heat about a tablespoon on butter with a clove of minced garlic in it. Add the butter and garlic to the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with a grating of Parmesan cheese.