Last week I needed something quick and easy for dinner, but I didn’t really want to eat Bag O Frozen Pasta & Chicken or something equally as boring and preservative-laden. So back to the Giada book I went, and what I came up with was her recipe for Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs and Marinara. Growing up my mom made a mean spaghetti with meat sauce, and while my taste buds have adapted to appreciate more “refined” foods, I still cannot find a sauce that I like better than hers. Now, I probably should’ve given Giada’s marinara a chance, but seriously guys it has like three ingredients–tomatoes (in a few varying forms) salt and pepper. Call me crazy but I’ve GOTTA have some spices in my sauce. So I decided to make my mom’s sauce, sans meat, and throw Giada’s meatballs on top. Turns out, it’s a pretty fab combination, as the Hubby declared it the best plate of spaghetti & meatballs he’d ever had. Bold words from a guy that usually only rates my dishes on a scale of 1-10. :o)
Giada’s Turkey Meatballs
1/4 c. plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs (I subbed Eggbeaters)
2 tablespoons of milk
1/4 c. grated Romano cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. of ground turkey
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil (1/8 of a cup seemed more than enough, but to each her own.)
In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, 1/2 c. of the cheese and the salt and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape meat mixture into bite-sized balls.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving or turning the meatballs until brown on the bottom. About 3 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown on the other side, about 3 minutes longer. Continue to cook until all the sides are browned and meatballs and cooked through.
*Since it’s a heck of a lot easier to throw these into the oven rather than flipping them around on a pan, I tried baking a few of these to see how they’d turn out. Not so well is how they turned out actually. The cheese sort of oozed out of the meatballs and stuck to the pan. All in all it looked pretty gross and they didn’t taste very well.
Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce
2 cans of tomato sauce
1/2 can of tomato paste
salt and pepper
Basically you just throw all the ingredients into a pot and let it simmer for a bit. If you’re making a meat sauce, add the meat (ground turkey or beef) to a skillet, cover with spices and brown. Then add the sauce. Because my mom never measures anything, that’s the way I learned to make her food. Yeah, trial and error isn’t the most efficient way of cooking, but that’s how it went in my house. Use your best judgment on what you like. Go heavy on the garlic if you love it, and light on the oregano if you don’t. Also, I’m sure fresh herbs and onions would work better, but again, this is how my mom made it (mainly because my little brother wouldn’t touch something if he so much as suspected an onion might be in it).