Who doesn’t love meatballs? My daughter and husband especially do- in all forms. Last week Sia reminded me I had not made them in ages- she does that even when I have not made something in a week but in this case she was right- I had not cooked meatballs in a long time. Now that I am writing this blog, I feel I cannot repeat a recipe- so I started thinking how I can make the meatballs different this time. Of course I wanted to make them healthy but thought I should disguise some veggies in the meatballs as well. I decided to saute frozen spinach with some garlic and shallots and added the mixture to the ground turkey. Speaking of ground turkey- any ground meat can be used but I am trying to use less red meat and I feel dark meat ground turkey does the job really well- although you can’t beat the taste of meatballs made out of a combination of beef, pork and veal! I also decided to add a tiny chunk of fresh mozzarella cheese in each meatball. It give the meat a nice creamy texture- also while cooking the meatballs in the marinara sauce, as the cheese melts and, oozes out into the sauce making it extra delicious! Somehow meatballs taste extra yummy with spaghetti- don’t know what it is- maybe it’s the texture of the thin long pasta but any other pasta shape just doesn’t do. Instead of serving the meatballs with plain spaghetti, I dress it up a bit. Once I cook it, I saute it with some minced garlic, olive oil, salt, dried basil and oregano. It really makes a big difference to the dish on the whole- the dried herbs and garlic take the spaghetti to a whole new level. Another great way to serve the meatballs is on a crusty roll. I usually toast the roll with a drizzle of olive oil. I then rub a garlic clove all over the crusty goodness with a sprinkle of salt. I place the meatballs on top with a slice of provolone or mozzarella cheese- melt in the toaster oven and it’s the best meatball sandwich you will ever taste!!! Of course for the adults, some salad and red wine is a must!!
- 1½ pound ground turkey meat (dark meat preferable)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese cut into ¼ inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 big shallot, minced
- 1 cup chopped frozen spinach
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 portion marinara sauce (made out of an 28 ounces crushed tomatoes)
In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and shallots, sauté for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the frozen spinach and salt. Saute on medium high heat for 6 to 7 minutes till the spinach is heated through and the water has dried out. Keep aside and let cool.
In a large bowl add the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and the spinach mixture. Mix well but careful not to over mix. Form meatballs while stuffing a piece of mozzarella cheese in each- careful to cover it on all sides. Add each meatball to a simmering pot of marinara sauce. Cook the meatballs covered for 30 minutes on low heat changing the sides after 15 minutes. Serve with spaghetti.