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My Favorite Tomato Sauce with Turkey-Basil Meatballs

My Favorite Tomato Sauce with Turkey-Basil Meatballs - Cooking In Cleveland
My Favorite Tomato Sauce with Turkey-Basil Meatballs

Today’s recipe is one of my go-to Sunday dinners.  There are very few meals that are more comforting than a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, right?  I made this dinner a few weeks ago when my mom was in town visiting and served it alongside a large side salad, crusty garlic bread, and nice bottle of Chianti.  To make garlic bread, I typically just lightly coat the thickly sliced bread with olive oil on each side then pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 375 degrees F.  After it’s lightly brown on both sides, remove it from the oven and take a whole garlic clove and just slightly rub the top of the bread with the garlic clove.  You’d be amazed at how much flavor just the one clove can give your bread!

For the salad, I just washed some spring mix and spinach that I had in my fridge and tossed it with some chopped peppers, local Tomz cherry tomatoes, and freshly grated parmesan cheese. I picked up a Stonewall Kitchen Olive Oil Balsamic Dressing the other day at my local Heinen’s grocery store and placed that on the table so that people could dress it themselves.

I’m guessing if you use your family’s meatball recipe, it calls for ground beef/veal/pork.  I have been working on updating my go-to recipe of the past to work well with ground turkey without being dry.  The key in this meatball recipe is that you’re going to use ground turkey with both white and dark meat–not just the white meat.  You’ll have to read the packaging to find this, but it’s well worth the extra 5 seconds it might take you at the grocery store since the dark meat really helps to add a lot of flavor and juiciness to the meatballs. (Yes I hate that I just said that phrase but the other option was to call them the M word…)

I also picked up an amazing large pack of basil at my grocery store the other day.  Normally my meatball recipe doesn’t call for basil, but I figured that since I bought so much I might as well use it.  I first chopped up some fresh leaves and threw them in the sauce to simmer.  I thought it might be a nice compliment to add a large handful to the meatballs as well.  I am so glad that I did!  The brightness of the basil really helps to add a nice punch of flavor with the combination of freshly chopped garlic and red chili flakes.

For the pasta, you can use any noodle you really love.  I decided to use some fresh Ohio City Egg Fettuccine.  I think long noodles really work well with this style of sauce because it’s not extremely thick.  Whichever pasta you choose, just make sure you cook it till it’s al dente, then drain and drizzle lightly with a big of good extra virgin olive oil before you plate.  This will not only help keep your noodles from sticking, but the little bit of EVOO adds a nice rich flavor to the dish.

Ready for a recipe?

Print Recipe
My Favorite Tomato Sauce with Turkey-Basil Meatballs
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
people (plus leftovers)
Ingredients
For the Sauce:
For the Meatballs:
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
people (plus leftovers)
Ingredients
For the Sauce:
For the Meatballs:
Instructions
For the Sauce:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the canned tomatoes, garlic, basil, butter and quartered yellow onion in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally for about 45 minutes.
For the meatballs:
  1. Gather the ingredients for the meatballs and combine them in a large mixing bowl. I use my hands, they key is just to very lightly combine the ingredients so that they're well incorporated, but you don't want them to be mushy. Most importantly: SHRED YOUR OWN DAMN CHEESE!
  2. The key to a good juicy meatball is not to overpack the meat. You want to mix the ingredients together until they are just combined and then VERY LIGHTLY--like as lightly as you handle eggs--form them into roughly 1 inch round balls (about the size of a golf ball). Again: THE KEY TO TENDER JUICY MEATBALLS IS TO NOT OVERPACK THEM!
  3. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil and lightly sprayed with baking spray. These need to go in the oven for about 30 minutes. You're going to flip them after 15 minutes.
  4. After you remove the meatballs from the oven, go ahead and add them to the finished tomato sauce and let them simmer for a minute or two just to incorporate the flavors.
  5. Shred some extra fresh parmesan for topping and pour yourself a glass of wine--it's time to eat!
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Rachel Gatalica

Welcome to Cooking in Cleveland! I want to share delicious, healthy and approachable recipes with you. I want to help highlight local Cleveland artisans and events and put a focus on using local foods!
  • Brainstorming future goals and plans for @cooking_in_cleveland this evening with a #dairyfree #decaflatte and a snuggly puppy by my side.  So grateful for everyone that has followed along so far.  I can't wait for what's to come! #wordpressbloggergirl #staytuned  #nespressomoment
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  • While on the #Whole30 challenge, the unthinkable happened…I learned to LIKE cauliflower.  I blame this recipe and some of the other stir fry dishes we made that used fresh cauliflower rice.

This dish is mostly #Whole30 compliant except for any additions you might make to this recipe such as #Sriracha for added heat or swapping soy sauce instead of the coconut aminos.

Check out the link in my bio and let me know what you think!

#Whole30 #Sriracha #StirFryMadeEasy #FreshFood #CookingInCleveland #QuickDinner #WeeknightWarrior #DinnerUnder30
  • Oooh baby tomorrow we're back...and we're turning this shitload of vegetables into a delicious (and quick) dinner tomorrow. .
For real, under 35 minutes from start to finish and hacks to make it even easier if you're feeling super lazy. .
Check back tomorrow 😘
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#Whole30 #Sriracha #StirFryMadeEasy #FreshFood #CookingInCleveland #QuickDinner #WeeknightWarrior #DinnerUnder30
  • Today marks #day30 on my #Whole30 challenge!  To celebrate, i’m sharing one of my favorite #Whole30 compliant recipes.
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This yummy soup comes together in no time and can be made from staples you can likely find in your pantry, garden or local farmers market!
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Check out the link in my bio for the recipe!! Also if you haven’t signed up for our email blasts yet, make sure you check out the widget at the bottom of the website!  We’re sending monthly recaps of all the recipes we post as well as links to our social media pages.

#CookinginCleveland #whole30 #healthydinner #grainfree #dairyfree #dairyfreedinner #CLEfoodblog #foodblog #recipetesting #eatyourcolors #soup
  • This week on Cooking In Cleveland, i’m sharing a really healthy and quick dinner that is equal parts filling and delicious.  I’m also talking a little bit about the #Whole30 challenge that we’re in the middle of and being honest about some of the highs and lows we’ve experienced on the plan.

This recipe is a really delicious grain-free dinner option and I’m wiling to bet you won’t really miss the pasta.  Click the link in my bio to check out the recipe!

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  • After a break last week I am back and sharing a yummy pasta dish!  We’re not just cooking with wine this week, i’m also talking about a yummy Italian wine that I paired with this meal.

Click on the link in my bio to check out the recipe.  Make sure you let me know if you decide to either try the pasta or just the wine!

#cookingincleveland #winenot #ItalianWine #PastaPlease #CleFoodBlogger #delightfuldinner #foodblog #drunknoodles
  • Want a sneak peek of tomorrow’s recipe post?  It’s too good not to share!  The recipe will go live at 5 am and the link will be posed in my bio.

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  • Starting our #whole30 a week from tomorrow and trying to plan out some more plant focused recipes in the meantime.  This BBQ chicken salad was full of flavor and healthy crunchy vegetables.  Thinking of sharing the recipe soon...can you call a salad a recipe?
  • Last night was epic!  Thanks to @altonbrown for putting on such an amazing show!! #cookingincleveland  #altonbrownlive #cleveland  #clevelandblogger #CLEfoodblog

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