|September 24, 2013||Posted by jcogswell1 under Dinner|
I have been craving spaghetti and meatballs for weeks! I don’t know if its because the weather is changing and I am in the mood for hearty food? Or perhaps its because I recently saw an episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina visits a meatball restaurant in NYC and haven’t been able to get the thought of them out of my head?
Regardless of the reason, I finally satisfied my craving the other night. The result was a delicious and hearty meatball over perfectly al dente bucatini all served in a simple, yet tasty tomato sauce.
If you are intimidated by making meatballs – don’t be! At least don’t be intimidated by making these meatballs. These guys are relatively straight forward. The only thing you can’t do is over work the meatball mixture or they can get tough.
To make this recipe easier, you could absolutely substitute the homemade tomato sauce for your favorite jarred variety. If you do that, this recipe becomes something you could throw together in the time it takes to boil and cook the pasta, but feels like a special treat!
Bucatini with Turkey Meatballs – Serves 4 (inspired by Giada’s Turkey Meatballs)
- 1 lb lean turkey meat (93% lean)
- 3 TB tomato paste
- 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced (make sure you mince these extremely fine. I had pieces that were a bit too big)
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Simple Tomato Sauce:
- 2 slices pancetta (about 1.5 ounces), diced
- 1/2 cup diced onions (about 1 small onion)
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 28 ounce can whole or crushed tomatoes (preferably san marzano)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- S+P to taste
- 1 lb bucatini or other long stranded pasta
- Olive oil for frying the meatballs
To make the meatballs, combine the grated onion (best if you use a micro-plane), garlic, bread crumbs, tomato paste, salt, pepper, egg, parmesan and chopped parsley in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Add the ground turkey and mix everything until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
Meanwhile, heat about 1/2 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. While the oil heats, form the turkey into 12 medium-sized balls.
Add the meatballs to the hot oil and cooked for 2 minutes per side until well browned.
Remove the meatballs from the oil and place on a plate.
Pour off excess oil from the pan used to cook the meatballs. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook for medium heat for 5 minutes until just lightly browned.
Once browned, remove the pancetta using a slotted spoon and add the onion to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes until the onions get soft, but not brown. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened. If you prefer a smoother sauce, blend it until desired consistency. Once you have the desire consistency, add the turkey meatballs and pancetta back and cover with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Reduce the heat and keep the meatballs and sauce warm until ready to combine with the pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once at a boil, add a handful of salt and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and put back into the large pot. Right before you are ready to finish the dish, remove the meatballs so you add the sauce to the pasta. Add the tomato sauce and stir with the pasta until well combined.
Serve the pasta into shallow bowls and top each with three meatballs and a healthy portion of grated parmesan.
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