An Italian Meatball is a great and wonderful thing.   Traditionally, I make my meatballs with a mixture of beef and pork, but when I’m trying to make them a bit lighter, a bit healthier, I go for ground turkey.  Turkey has less calories and fat, so you can feel better about chowing down.  And handled right, they are still really tasty.  Hope you enjoy these turkey meatballs.

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

To make the best turkey meatballs, just make sure to do the following:

  1. As turkey has less natural flavor they beef/pork, you want to make sure that the meatballs are well seasoned which helps bring out the flavors that are there
  2. Before rolling all the meatballs, take a bit of the mix, cook, and then taste it.  That little taster will tell you if you need to add more salt, pepper, or anything else
  3. Make sure you don’t overcook the meatballs.  I like to sauté and then poach them in tomato sauce, but as turkey can dry out quickly, you want to cook them until they are just done – about 15 – 20 minutes in the sauce

Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 3 garlic gloves
  • ½ cup (approx) bread crumbs
  • 1 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Turkey Meatballs

  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and coat the bottom in olive oil
  • Add the onions, garlic and carrot the pan, season with salt and pepper, toss and cook down until the onions are translucent
  • Remove the vegetables from the pan and allow to cool for about 10 minutes
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients, season well with salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly
  • Cook off a small patty of the meatball mix, and taste it.  Adjust the seasoning if needed
  • Form meatballs about golfball size
  • Heat a large sauté pan (I prefer non-stick) and coat with olive oil.  Saute the meatballs in batches browning on 2 – 3 sides, but not cooking all the way through
  • While browning the meatballs, heat a pot (1/2 – 1 gallon) of basic tomato sauce, and bring it to a simmer
  • As the meatballs brown, transfer them in batches to the simmering tomato sauce to poach until cooked through 10 – 20 minutes
  • Serve up the meatballs with a bit more grated parmesan cheese over the top and a drizzle of olive oil

Wine Recomendation

Turkey or not, I say a meatball in tomato sauce, deserves a beautiful Italian Chianti.  There is something magical in the way that Chainti pairs with tomatoes, and I think you'll love the match.  No reason to break the bank on a Classico or Reserva, as the they're more likely to be bigger and bolder...which isn't really needed with the turkey meat.

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