Turkey meatballs with vegetable marinara
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SERVES: makes 18-20 meatballs
For the marinara:
• 1 generous cup peeled, rough chopped onion
• 1 generous cup peeled, 1/2-inch thick sliced carrot
• 1 generous cup rough chopped celery
• olive oil for sauteing veggies
• 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• two 28-ounce cans tomato puree
• 1/2- 1 cup chicken stock or water
For the meatballs:
• 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
• 1 1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs
• 1/4 cup chopped parsley
• 1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
• 2/3 cup water
• salt and pepper to taste
• one pound dried pasta cooked according to directions (such as spaghetti)
• grated Romano or Parmesan cheese for garnish
1. To get the marinara going, add a splash of olive oil to a large heavy bottomed pot and add 1 generous cup of peeled and rough chopped onion, 1 generous cup of peeled and 1/2-inch thick sliced carrot and 1 generous cup of rough chopped celery.
2. Stir that around occasionally as the vegetables are cooking and you'll also need to finely mince 2 large cloves of garlic, chop about 1/4 cup fresh parsley and 1 Tbs fresh thyme.
3. Next, make the meatballs by combining 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey meat with 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup grated Romano (or Parmesan) cheese, 1 1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs, the chopped parsley and thyme, add 2/3 cup water to that and a little salt and pepper to taste and mix it up.
4. Shape that mixture into 2-inch round meatballs...you'll end up with about 18 total.
5. Make sure you wash your hands really well and, once the carrots have softened up, add the minced garlic to the vegetable pot, let it cook along for a minute and then add two 28-ounce cans tomato puree and 1/2 cup chicken stock or water and bring it up to a simmer.
6. Use another large, heavy bottomed pan to brown up the meatballs in a little olive oil.
7. Once the meatballs are nicely browned all around, turn the heat way down and carefully ladle the marinara sauce into the pan with the meatballs and let it gently simmer along for another 20 minutes or so to cook the meatballs all the way through.
8. While the meatballs are slowly finishing up, cook up a pot of pasta to serve with it.
• It might be easier (and less messy) to transfer the browned meatballs to the marinara instead of adding the marinara to meatball pan but the idea is to not lose the flavor that builds up in the pan while browning the meatballs.
• Use this same recipe with ground beef instead of ground turkey.
• Add bottled marinara sauce to the sauteed veggies instead of canned tomato puree.