Monday, May 2, 2011

Turkey Meatballs and Marinara Sauce

These turkey meatballs have been in our meal rotation for a few years. I've tried different versions with beef and pork but keep coming back to these. The turkey makes them a little lighter and not greasy which is good because this tomato sauce recipe has half a stick of butter in it. I also love the fresh parsley so don't skip out on it. Parsley is one of the cheapest herbs in the store and your leftovers from the bunch are great for topping the meatballs (and garlic bread if you choose) and also in scrambled eggs and salads. And the sauce. I've been reading about this sauce on many of the blogs I follow and I wish I had tried it sooner. Just do a Google Blog Search for Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce and you can see how many of my fellow bloggers are raving about it. It's definitely worth the 45 minutes.

Time: about an hour
Serves: 2-3 (or 2 with leftovers)

Meatballs (adapted from Giada)
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 3 TBSP ketchup
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey (get the 7% fat - 93/7)
  • Olive oil 

Sauce (from Marcella Hazan via The Amateur Gourmet
  • 1 28-oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 1 small onion (or half a large one)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 TBSP butter

  1. Cut the ends off the onion, then cut it in half and peel it.
  2. Smash the garlic cloves with the flat end of your knife and peel them.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic and about 1 tsp of salt. Use a potato masher to break up the whole tomatoes.

  5. Once it starts bubbling, turn the heat down to low so it barely bubbles.
  6. Cook for 45 minutes, tasting for salt at the end.
  1. Cover a baking sheet with foil, then smear some olive oil all over it. You can do this with a brush if you have one, or with a paper towel.
  2. Smash, peel, then finely chop the garlic cloves.
  3. Grate the onion into a large bowl.

  4. Add the garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper to the bowl and stir together with a fork.

  5. Mix in the turkey with your hands until everything is well-combined.
  6. Take small handfuls of the turkey mixture and roll into 1-inch meatballs, placing each one on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Brush or drizzle a little extra olive oil on top of the meatballs - this will help with browning. You can also use spray oil, like Pam, if that is easier.

  1. Move one oven rack to the middle of the oven and another to the top rack.
  2. Turn your oven on to Broil. If you can set the temperature on your broiler, set it to low, or 400 degrees. If you can't set it, no big deal, just turn it on.
  3. Put the meatballs on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Move the baking sheet to the top rack and cook for 5-7 minutes longer until they are nice and brown.

  5. Take out the meatballs and transfer them into the sauce. There will be some grease on the baking sheet so you may need to set them on a paper towel first, then into the sauce.
  6. Serve with garlic bread or pasta.


  1. Yummm!! Making this right now!

  2. let me know how they turn out Kimberly!

  3. Made them last night and they were a success! We used spray butter anstead of real butter and it still tasted great! Thanks for the recipe idea. Making meatball subs for lunch today with leftovers. Can't wait!

  4. so glad ya'll enjoyed Janann. your pics were beautiful :)

  5. I had a friend ask about the onion in the sauce and wanted to share. the recipe I used said to just discard the onion at the end. I saved it and used it later - would be yummy for sandwiches or scrambled eggs!

  6. I made this and it was so good!! That sauce is amazing!!