October 28, 2010

Turkey Meatballs with Pasta and Vodka Sauce

Yesterday was a pretty crazy day. I literally spent about five hours running errands for... what is it about my daughter and biting her tongue all the time?!?! I mean, it happens like every other day! Sorry, I got sidetracked. Let's start over. Yesterday was my husband's 30th birthday (happy birthday, baby!) and we were having guests over for dinner. He asked me to make chicken parmigiana for his birthday dinner. I had about 2 cups of the tomato sauce I made leftover, so I thought I would use that to make some vodka sauce. I love vodka sauce so much and it has been so long since I've had it. I had some ground turkey because it was on special at my grocery store, so I thought turkey meatballs would be a nice addition to the sauce. My husband has never had vodka sauce nor has he had turkey meatballs. When I got the "what's for dinner" question this afternoon and I told him, he wasn't too sure about either, especially the turkey meatballs. Why? Because, he said, "It's turkey and not beef." lol Good answer. My husband is so good, though. He is willing to try something new for me and give me his honest opinion about it. Well, let me tell you that when he ate those turkey meatballs, he said, "These are surprisingly good." WOOT! Yet another use for turkey to add to my list! His opinion of the vodka sauce, however, was not as good. "It's just not my cup of tea." I, on the other hand, thought the sauce was great and my daughter liked it as well. If you're a vodka sauce fan, you'll like this recipe.

Note: In case you didn't already know, it is always a good idea to taste as you cook, especially with the sauce in this recipe. For the sauce: Before you throw in the cream and Parmesan, taste the sauce. If it tastes too strongly of vodka, you need to cook the sauce longer to cook the alcohol off more. Another good idea is to taste meat before you fry it (no, not raw, silly!) When I'm ready to fry any meat, I take a very tiny pinch of it, throw it in the preheated pan and cook it. I taste it and decide if it needs more salt, pepper, garlic, etc. It only takes a couple of minutes at the most and is so worth it, especially when you are trying something new. Because we all know, good food is relative to the person.

Ingredients:

Vodka Sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 c vodka
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
Turkey Meatballs
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 small egg
  • 1/4 c Italian-style bread crumbs, plus more for coating (optional)
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp onion salt
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Directions:
  • Make the sauce. Heat oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, stirring and cooking until fragrant; about 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook until heated through.
  • Pour in the vodka and cook until reduced, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the parsley, basil and oregano.
  • Pour in the heavy cream and stir in the Parmesan. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, form and cook the meatballs. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, bread crumb, worcestershire sauce, onion salt, salt and pepper. Form into meatballs.
  • Optional: Coat each meatball with additional bread crumb.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the meatballs on all sides, until cooked through and no longer pink.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and stir.
  • Serve over cooked pasta.
  • Enjoy!

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