Spaghetti and meatballs sounds like a pretty labor-intensive meal that takes some time to prepare, and is kinda fattening, right? Good news: it doesn’t have to be! Yesterday was cold and rainy and I was in the mood for some cozy comfort food. I had a hankering for Italian, so I thought I’d try to make one of my favorite meals lighter and faster.
Instead of beef, I substituted turkey and used brown rice spaghetti in place of the traditional. It took about 40 minutes to prepare, much of that time was inactive though, just letting the meatballs simmer. The end result was fabulous!
*Tip: If you’re like me and you live alone, making this recipe might seem wasteful. Either half the recipe, or make a full order of meatballs and freeze half after they’ve browned and before they’ve been simmered in sauce. Or, just take the leftovers to work for lunch the next day!
Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs
- 1/3 cup finely ground cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 1 pound ground turkey (dark meat is best)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 onion, grated
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 ounces brown rice spaghetti, cooked to package instructions
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup grated onion
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)
- 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a mixing bowl, combine cracker crumbs and milk. Mix in turkey, Parmesan, onion, garlic, egg, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Use your hands to to mix all of the ingredients until evenly combined. Do not over mix. Divide turkey into a dozen or so balls and shape. Place meatballs on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high. Brown meatballs about 3 minutes on each side (don’t overcrowd the pan — do in batches if necessary). Place meatballs on a paper towel-lined plate. Pour excess oil out of the skillet and wipe clean.
In the same large skillet, over medium low heat, combine olive oil, garlic, onion, and red pepper, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a low simmer and add meatballs back to pan. Lower heat and cover. Let meatballs simmer 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
Add cooked and drained spaghetti to the pan and toss to combine. Serve with grated Parmesan and a little fresh basil.