Terry and I took a trip to the river with our good friends Paul and Rachel last weekend. As we huddled under a covered patio area waiting for the rain to subside, Paul told me an amusing story about Rachel (which will not be repeated here) that involved spaghetti. I haven't been able to get spaghetti off of my mind since the trip (sort of like the "ice cream and cake" commercial), so I decided to make Ellie Krieger's Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce. I have made the meatballs from this recipe in the past, but had used some homemade sauce that I had in the freezer, as I was too lazy at the time to try Ellie's sauce.
Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave
For the Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
One 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, with their juices
1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle chile, in adobo sauce, or more to taste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup torn fresh basil
For the Meatballs
1 pound lean ground turkey meat
1 slice whole-wheat bread, crusts removed and pulsed into crumbs in a food processor
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
½ cup finely grated carrot
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Spaghetti
One 16-ounce box whole-wheat spaghetti
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
To make the sauce, in a 4-quart saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, chipotle, oregano, and rosemary, bring to a low boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the liquid has evaporated slightly, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
While the sauce is cooking, make the meatballs. Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Form into 2 ½-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Broil until browned and almost entirely cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the rosemary sprig from the sauce and stir in the basil. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and cook until the sauce has slightly thickened and the meatballs have absorbed some of the sauce, about another 10 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and meatballs, toss together, and heat through over medium heat. Divide evenly among 6 pasta bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan, garnish with parsley, and serve.
My spaghetti desire has been fulfilled! Terry absolutely raved about each aspect of Ellie Krieger's Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce, I however thought the sauce was just OK. The first time I gave this recipe a whirl I used regular ground turkey, not the extra lean stuff. I could tell a slight difference, the regular turkey meatballs were a bit more tender due to their fat content. Either type of meat would yield a wonderful tasting meatball. Although Terry was hesitant about the shredded carrots in the meatballs, and accused me of trying to "sneak in" vegetables, he was pleasantly surprised and requested that I make this dish again soon. What he didn't know was that I had already doubled the recipe for the freezer so that it can be taken out and enjoyed on our first busy school night (which will probably be Monday!)