Friday, October 26, 2012

Spaghettini with Turkey Meatballs & Arrabbiata Sauce

Light and delicious, these succulent Turkey Meatballs are made with a combination of ground turkey and turkey sausage for a leaner twist on the traditional Italian favourite. The addition of garlic, grated parmesan cheese, fresh bread crumbs, egg and chopped Italian parsley take these little golden gems to another savoury level. Rolled into small bite size or golfball size balls, the easiest way to make them is to pinch out the desired amount and roll it into a ball between the palms of your hands. The meatballs are then paced on a parchment lined baking sheets and baked in the oven for about half an hour.

In the meantime, a quick Arrabbiata Sauce can be prepared with sautéed onion, garlic, red wine, tomatoes, chopped fresh basil and a few teaspoons of dried chili flakes or Sriracha Sauce, for a little heat. Arrabbiato means angry in Italian, due to the heat of the chili peppers, so it's up to you how 'angry' you like your sugo, or sauce. You can always say, "The devil made you do it!"

Assemble the turkey meatballs into 1-2" balls or as you prefer

Golden brown and cooked through, the turkey meatballs smell heavenly

Spaghettini with Turkey Meatballs
Serves 6-8

Turkey meatballs:
3/4 lb ground turkey

1/2 lb turkey sausage, casings removed

2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs

2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tbsp milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Arrabiata sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup red wine
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more if you like
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 large cans crushed tomatoes, drained, but save the juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish 

Pasta & Garnish:
1 500g box spaghettini or spaghetti
1 cup grated good quality Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the ground turkey and sausage meat, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a medium spoon, drop 1 to 2-inch size meatballs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and lightly browned. You should get about 24 to 30 meatballs, depending how big you want to make them. Once done, drain on paper towel and set aside.

While the meatballs are baking, begin to make Arrabiata sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, sugar, basil, red pepper flakes, tomato paste and black pepper, stirring to combine. Mix in the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes. If you like a slightly runnier sauce, add some of the reserved tomato juice, and season to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a full rolling boil, then cook the pasta as per  the directions on the box. While the pasta is cooking, gently combine the turkey meatballs with the Arrabiata sauce, stirring to combine. Let simmer over a low heat until ready to serve.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain and pour into a large warmed serving bowl or platter. Pour the Arrabiata and meatballs sauce over the noodles, and garnish with chopped parsley and grated fresh parmesan cheese.

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