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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Life is a bowl full of meatballs.

                We have had a run of meals with meatballs in the last month and I'm not complaining. Long,long time ago I made a spaghetti and meatballs recipe that was out of this world and for the life of me I can't seem to keep up with the actual piece of paper that the recipe is printed on,but I haven't forgotten the meatballs. They were fantastic. Rich,meaty and spicy,hello! After that I was sure I had to get a little more experience making and serving meatballs.I really wanted a few solid meatball recipes to have in my collection.I made some great meatballs for a soup recipe that centered around the meatballs and they did not disappoint. They had cornmeal in them and it was such a unique taste that really brought a lot to the over all flavor of the meatball and the soup,oh what a treat.A few weeks later I used that specific meatball recipe to compliment a rich,smoky tomato sauce that was so stinkin' good,it was really a fantastic fairly quick dinner idea.
         The fairly quick dinner idea was the second recipe I posted for a new,online cooking club I joined a few weeks back, It has been such a treat to compare and share recipes with these folks.I had a small laugh when the theme for this week was,wait for it..."You're such a meatball!" Yep we had to make a meatball recipe of Giada de Laurentiis' s and I was in luck.I did some quick research online and in the cookbook of hers that I have and found one recipe that was sure to please. The only umm.. .thing well we were going to visit my husband's family out of town and well... um I had to act quick.I called his mom and asked sweetly if I could cook dinner Saturday night for everyone. The only catch I had to do some documentation and well that really was the only catch. She happily obliged and it was a date. Here's how the meal came together (yay meatballs!) :
The meal was planned for Saturday evening,but the majority of the prep took place Saturday morning.I diced up the onion and pancetta on the cutest cutting board.I also brought with me some olive oil,it's a little chilled at this point. Chilled is just fine.

Then I heated up the olive oil in a big ol' skillet and browned the pancetta and onion. Oooh the smell of pancetta and bacon browning,I wonder if there is a candle smell out there that smells like that? Well I tell you what these were going to be some fine meatballs if they started off this way.
While the room was filling with some amazing smells,I gathered together the rest of the ingredients that made up the meatballs: ground turkey,chopped parsley,salt and pepper,fresh bread crumbs,eggs,pecorino romano cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Nice ingredient choice Giada,well done.
The pancetta and onion mixture had finished cooking,I let it cool for a minute and then mixed all of the ingredients together in a big bowl. These are going to be good I just know it,hooray.
***Now here's where the thinkin' came in: I am a big believer in letting the meatball mixture hang out and chill in the fridge for a little while,be it at least 30 minutes or in this case all day.It worked out well that this part of the recipe was halfway done and this technique lets the fats in the mixture congeal into one big meatball. It's just a little trick I learned the hard way and can benefit from for many recipes to come.Ok I'm done being philosophical. Thank you.***
So here we are a few hours later,shopping finished and now it's time to get down to business,dinner I mean. See and here's the funny thing,remember that phone call I made to my sweet mother-in-law,well... she told me that she was planning on making spaghetti that night too! In my ingredient bag was fettucine,it wasn't going to hurt a thing using a slightly different pasta.BUT! she had bought some linguine to use in her spaghetti and well the recipe did call for linguine and well.. she was way cool and gave me the linguine. and saved the authenticity of this post,thank heavens. The ingredients pictured here are the ingredients for a tasty tomato sauce.The recipe calls for fresh basil,but folks lets be real it's the middle of winter and I ain't got fresh basil AT ALL! So I figured sage is a pretty herb and would make for a lovely garnish in the picture. Sage can handle the winter months a little better( on my screen porch,thats covered in plastic sheeting,it makes for a great hot house to keep the herbs that can hang with the chilly temps.)
Cut up the whole,peeled tomatoes with some kitchen scissors. The recipe says to drain the tomatoes,but ya know this tomato juices in the can smelled so good and I thought it would be a shame to lose that richness so I kept the juices.It made for a tasty,thick sauce that held up well.
 And ladies and gentlemen here we have it Linguine with Turkey Meatballs and Quick Sauce.And some fine lookin' sage leaves if I do say so myself. Dinner is served. Enjoy!
Linguine with Turkey Meatballs and Quick Sauce
adapted from Everyday Pasta
by Giada de Laurentiis
Turkey Meatballs-
3TBL olive oil
2-ounces pancetta,finely diced
1/2 yellow onion,finely diced
1lb ground turkey,preferably dark meat
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 eggs,lightly beaten
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb linguine
1/4c olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes,drained
    and cut into pieces with kitchen scissors(*see my note above*)
2 whole garlic cloves,peeled
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1.To make the meatballs: Heat the olive oil in a medium,heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook until the pancetta is crisp and the onion is tender,about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2.In a large bowl combine the pancetta-onion mixture to the remaining meatball ingredients and mix to combine.***At this point,I cove the bowl with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.*** Then form the meatballs into balls about 2 inches in diameter,using 2 tablespoons for each,and place on a foil-lined and greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
3.In a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite,stirring occasionally,8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve up to 1 cup of the the pasta water.
4. Meanwhile,in a medium saucepan,warm the 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes,garlic cloves,parsley,salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Discard the garlic cloves. Add the cooked meatballs and cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add the reserved pasta water,about 1/4 cup at a time,if the pasta needs moistening. Arrange on a serving platter and top with the basil.


  1. I love your idea of letting the meatball mixture "mingle" for awhile in the fridge. I bet it helps all the flavors to come together a bit more. Your turkey meatballs look fantastic! So glad to have you cooking with us again :)

  2. Your meatballs look delicious. Love the sage leaves addition too--great way to make the most of what you have on hand seasonally. ;-)

  3. Mind Blowing your recipe and nice your post details of food. unique idea for food . wonderful your make this food and good planning . nice shared of food information .

  4. Beautiful! How fun that you got to cater for your family! Great meal.

  5. must make these!! love you sister!! calling you soon :)