Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

By • December 6, 2013 0 Comments

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Author Notes: My tomato sauce is definitely a work in progress, however I think my "nonna" would be impressed with this variation. Each time I make a tomato sauce from scratch, I change or add something. This time the tomatoes were particularly acidic, so I adjusted the sweetness with a little touch of agave syrup (rather than sugar). The spices were kept, for the most part, clean and rustic with just a little dried basil, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes for some heat.

I add something that my "nonna" would not be very thrilled about, but I think it makes my tomato sauce my own (in a way). I like to add a little cinnamon - not enough to make it a Moussaka sauce, but just the right about to add to the sweetness of the sauce. Don't furl your eyebrow at me yet, try it - you'd be surprised at how delicious the outcome is.


Serves 2-3

Ground Turkey

  • 1/2 packet ground turkey
  • 1/2 palm full dried basil
  • 1/2 palm full dried oregano
  • 1/4 palm full crush red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicier)
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 2 slices multi-grain bread (crusts cut off), soaked in skim milk
  • salt and pepper, more than you think
  • 1 egg
  • 1 palm full dried whole wheat bread crumbs

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 medium white onion, medium diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large can good quality tomatoes (Italissima is great!)
  • 1/2 can tomato paste (again Italissima is great!)
  • 1/2 palm full dried basil
  • 1/2 palm full dried oregano
  • 1/2 palm full crushed red pepper flakes
  • a couple dashes cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup (if your tomatoes are too acidic)
  • 1 cup baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a small bowl soak the slices of bread in enough milk, just to cover. Meanwhile, in another bowl combine turkey, spices, S&P, and an egg. Once the bread has soaked up some milk (it won't soak up all of it) squeeze them with you hands, and plop them in the turkey mixture. Combine all ingredients together. Use your hands - get them messy - just make sure you wash them after. This is actually necessary though in order to assess the consistency. If they are too wet, add the bread crumbs - if they are perfect don't. I needed to though.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form your balls and place them on the baking sheet. Make them whatever size you want, but consistency is key so they cook at the same rate. Bake them in the oven for 18-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, sweat onion and garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat, in a large saucepan. Once translucent, add spices. Stir together for 30 seconds, letting the spices open up. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, let heat through then turn down to a simmer.
  5. After about 15 minutes, taste your sauce - if it is too acidic (it probably will be) add some sweetener. If you don't have agave syrup add a little sugar - you're not trying to candy the sauce, but sweeten it up a bit so no more than 1/2 tsp of the syrup or sugar.
  6. Once the meatballs are out of the oven, add them to the sauce. Mix them around a bit. When your pasta has finished cooking, remove the meatballs and put the aside on a plate. Add your arugula and capers to the sauce, and top with the hot strained pasta. Toss together with tongs.
  7. Plate the pasta and top with the meatballs. Buon Appetito!

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