Wednesday, March 4, 2009

spaghetti marinara with turkey meatballs

this marinara sauce is so easy to make and so delicious that i haven't bought bottled sauce in years. once you try it, you won't ever buy that stuff again either. and why should anyone because this is so much healthier & tastier! the turkey meatballs are a great healthy alternative to traditional meat ones. and i swear, if you don't tell them it's turkey, they might not even notice!

last year for my birthday, jDub gifted me with a cooking class at the new school of cooking in culver city. we took a pasta making class and it was a blast. i highly recommend the classes there. one important thing we learned about is san marzano tomatoes. they are grown in and imported from naples, italy. many chefs argue that they are the best tomatoes in the world. if you ever make this recipe or any other recipe that calls for canned tomatoes, i URGE you to only use san marzano's. you can find them at whole foods. they cost more but i promise, they make a difference. a delicious difference.

mise en place
marinara sauce
4-6 servings
2 - 28 oz cans san marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fleur de sel
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

in a large pot on medium high heat, heat the olive. add the onions, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and sautée until tender. approx 6-8 mins. add the garlic and sautee for another minute or two. add the tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf and stir everything up well. let it come to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer covered for at least 30 mins, up to an hour.

remove from heat and in batches, puree in a blender. return it back to the pot, heat it if necessary and add the butter. the butter cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and adds a smoothness to the sauce. you can add more if you feel necessary. season to taste with more salt and pepper.

turkey meatballs
makes 24 meatballs
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

mise en place

in a skillet, heat the olive oil and butter until the butter melts and starts to foam. add the onions and sautée with a dash of salt and pepper until tender and transluscent. approx 5 mins. add the garlic and sautée for another minute or two.

in a large bowl, add all the ingredients. using your hands, mix all the ingredients together until everything is just well combined. do not over mix.

form the mixture into 1 1/2" balls. chill for at least 30 mins.

in a large skillet, on medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of butter until the butter melts and starts to foam. cook the meatballs until all sides are well browned and they are cooked through.

add the meatballs to the marinara sauce and simmer for 15 mins.
serve with spaghetti and top with freshly grated parmesan and freshly chopped parsley.

bon appétit~!


  1. can i get some? -jl

  2. i made this tonight and it was super delish. i usually like beef/pork for my meatballs but i tried the healthy route with the turkey and it was BETTER than beef! my husband absolutely LOVED it as well. thanks for sharing.

  3. i agree...these turkey meatballs are way better than beef. i don't enjoy eating turkey, but i can eat these meatballs over and over again. as for marinara sauce, it's absolutely divine...san marzano tomatoes do make a delicious difference.

  4. What's fleur de sel and where can I find it?

  5. Absolutely delicious recipe, specially with the turkey meatball flavor, thanks for this one.

  6. hello i would like to read more about this interesting topic.

  7. fleur de sel is french sea salt

  8. wow. this recipe blows away my meatballs. thank you for the suggestions!!