There are some days when I crave meatballs, but I do not crave the fat content contained in most recipes.
Not that I am afraid of fat. Quite the opposite, I adore fat, but some nights I want something a little lighter. That, however, does not mean I want to sacrifice flavor. That is why I LOVE these turkey meatballs. You get hearty, meaty, and moist meatballs without the added fat.
The grated carrots are the secret to these meatballs. They keep the lean turkey moist while cooking. They also add nutrition and flavor which I also appreciate.
The sauce I serve with these meatballs is a ten minute sauce. The key is not over cooking this sauce. The canned tomatoes, which are a definite time saving ingredient, are nice and bright with loads of flavor, but they get kind of dull if cooked too hard. I do no more than simmer them once they are added, and then I only cook them for a few minutes. I only use enough sauce to lightly coat the pasta and meatballs so you may have extra sauce left over. It keeps for up to five days in the fridge, and is great on meatball subs the next day.
The meatballs are hearty, the sauce is flavorful yet fast, and this is a great weeknight dinner sure to please!
Turkey Meatballs with Quick Tomato Cream Sauce Serves 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 – 12 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound lean ground turkey
2/3 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
Fresh cracked pepper
1 pound papradelle
For the sauce heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and cook until soft, about three minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes then cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.
Add the diced tomatoes with the liquid and stir to combine. Add the sugar, fresh herbs – except the basil, and salt then bring to a simmer.
Put the mixture in the blender, along with the basil, and process until smooth, about two to three minutes on high. Pour back into the pot and return to the heat and bring back to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the cream. Stir to combine.
Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with parchment, then spray with vegetable oil.
To prepare the meatballs combine the turkey, carrots, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, and egg. Mix until combined.
Add the herbs, salt, pepper, and cheese. Mix well.
With a small disher, about two tablespoons, scoop out the meatballs into the prepared sheet pan. You should get between 25 and 30 meatballs. Top with a dash of the paprika.
Bake under the broiler for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
While the meatballs are in the oven prepare the pasta according to the package directions.
To serve put the pasta in a serving bowl and toss with half the sauce. Add the meatballs to the serving dish and drizzle the remaining sauce on top. Garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese and torn basil.