It's tough to go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs, but I'm always up for a variation. This recipe from Ina Garten eschews the common beef for turkey instead. But while that's usually a terrible idea (because the way to go wrong with meatballs is to make them tough and dry), she keeps them interesting (and juicy) by adding in Italian sausage and finely chopped prosciutto.
Why I Picked This Recipe: Ina is a pretty dependable resource whom I trust—that, and I've had some pretty boring turkey meatballs before. Her technique goes with a classic bread-and-milk addition to the meat, known as a panade, to help makes the meatballs tender. And she uses just enough sausage meat to bring a nice porky flavory and richness without overwhelming.
What Worked: The oven technique is the best part of this recipe. Once you realize meatballs don't need to be cooked on the stove, spattering oil and going lopsided in the pan, you may never go back.
What Didn't: While I'm a lover of spicy foods, her quantity of red pepper flakes give these meatballs a kick which seemed a little out of place; I would halve it next time.
Suggested Tweaks: These meatballs don't necessarily have to be served with spaghetti—they would make a fine appetizer. And if you're not as worried about saturated fat, going with beef instead of turkey would make a very fine alternative.
Adapted from Food Network.
About the author: Blake Royer has been writing for Serious Eats since 2007. He is the Creative Director at Jamco Creative in Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter: @blakeroyer.
- 1 1/2 cups (1-inch diced) crustless cubes of rustic bread, pulsed into breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1/4 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed
- 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup freshly grated aged Asiago cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the meatballs
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk and let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, prosciutto, bread mixture, Asiago, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Combine lightly, taking care not to over mix, then add the olive oil and egg and stir lightly to form the mixture.
Shape into 2-inch round meatballs and spread out on the sheet pan. Brush with olive oil and bake until tops are brown and meatballs are cooked though, 35-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the marina sauce to a simmer. Add the cooked meatballs and bring to a simmer.
Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, then divide amongst bowls. Top with meatballs and marinara sauce. Serve with more grated cheese.