It has definitely been sunny in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. There's no denying the beauty of this area during the summer and autumn months. The winter and some of the spring leave a little to be desired in terms of blue skies, but if you look hard enough, you'll find something worth admiring. Our weather and these meatballs have very little in common, but I was feeling a little cheeky with title.
If there's a go-to meal that is sure to make Ken feel loved, it is Spaghetti and Meatballs. My favorite recipe for meatballs was taught to me by the owner/chef at Cafe Lago and is the one I make most frequently.
Recently, however, Emily e-mailed me this recipe and said I needed to try it. It uses ground turkey, a mix of veggies for moisture, and some spices. It also calls for Panko which is dried Japanese bread crumbs, but I don't like dried crumbs in meatballs because they tend to soak up too much of the needed moisture ... especially when using white turkey meat. Ideally, I would soak fresh bread in milk, then squeeze it out, but I also wanted these meatballs to be gluten-free. I could've used gluten-free bread, but I had leftover quinoa in the fridge so I added about 3/4 cup to the mixture. I don't use premixed seasonings so I subbed out the Italian seasoning for straight up oregano and basil. That's pretty Italian, right?
Emily has baked them and that is a good option, but I took to the ol' cast iron skillet and a bit of olive oil. Be sure to keep your skillet at medium heat if you're using olive oil. If you heat it too high, you'll create toxins and free radicals that you'd be better off avoiding on a regular basis. Other oil options for higher heat are avocado oil and coconut oil.
Unlike the original recipe, I didn't cook them with chicken broth, but rather made a tomato sauce to go with.
The sauce was made in the same pan as the meatballs. I poured crushed tomatoes over the browned and almost cooked meatballs, seasoned with salt, pepper, basil, and oregano, and let it cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, just to be sure the turkey was cooked through.
And pasta? Well, since I'm eating no wheat, I chose a plate full of very thinly sliced zucchini and as I told Emily, I feel like the moisture in the vegetable really makes the meatballs that much better. You could increase the moisture in the meatballs by increasing the amount of veggies in the mix, reducing the bread crumbs, and including dark meat. Or any of the above. And of course, you could also use beef or ground pork.
In the end, I don't think I followed the original recipe very closely! However, inspiration comes from everywhere and we tweak what we learn from various experiences to fit where we are in the moment, right? Therefore, I give you my Turkey Meatball recipe.
Whaddya think? Love meatballs? It's like meatloaf ... but better!