Mamma Mia! That’s A Spicy (Turkey) Meatball!

Purists have sneered at yours truly for substituting ground turkey for beef/pork mixture in making meatballs for spaghetti. I did it partially for health reasons, although as you’ll see in the recipe that follows, I’ve sorta destroyed a lot of that aspect to get the flavor & texture I like.

Whatever. I’m downing a near bottle of wine every time I make this, and that’s good for me, right?


Even if it isn’t, who the hell cares, right?

Damn right.

Anyway, I recommend giving this one a try – it’s easy & quick, and is authentic enough for my tastes. I don’t think Clemenza would scoff & refuse any, never mind strangling me with piano wire.

  1. I start with 1/3 pound of regular ground turkey, the 7% fat version. This will make 8 medium sized meatballs for 1 big appetite like mine.
  2. It goes into a mixing bowl with the following rough measurements of things I generally eyeball: 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste, 1/2 tbs dried basil, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp of grated parmesean cheese, and most importantly of all…. 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs saturated to mushiness with a medium bodied red wine, like malbec, sangiovese, tempranillo, or chianti. The crumbs should be like a wet sponge without a film of wine left over.
  3. Mix all that together, and then divide up into 8 meatballs. Don’t overmix or the meat gets stringy. Just enough to evenly distribute everything.
  4. I put the meatballs on a pyrex pie plate, put a paper towel on top, and start them in the (EGAD!) microwave for 3 minutes on high.
  5. Have a pan, preferebly non-stick ready with a minimal coating of olive oil, on medum. Remove the 80% cooked meatballs from puddle of liquid fat in the pie plate – this removes most of the fat & leaves the olive oil/breadcrumbs/cheese behind as the moisture holder – and brown them ever so gently on a couple of sides in the pan, to get “edges” on them. This only takes a couple of minutes.
  6. Add a good basic tomato sauce to the pan – I have a recipe for one on this blog linked here – bring to a simmer, cover and let cook for 15 minutes or so. That’s all the time you really need, with a stir or two. Then dress your favorite pasta with it.

That’s it! It takes very little time & makes great sorta-healthy meatballs.

And the more wine you drink with ’em, the healthier they are. Isn’t that convenient?

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