Monday, March 12, 2007

Worth the wordiness

Light Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook Copyright 2006

2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 ½ pounds (93 percent lean) ground turkey
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 large egg yolk
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups Light Tomato Sauce
1 pound spaghetti

1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot for the spaghetti.
2. Meanwhile, remove and discard the crusts from the bread, then tear the bread into small pieces. Mash the bread and buttermilk to a smooth paste in a large bowl using a fork. They actually referred to a picture on another page to show you how to do this!
3. Add the turkey, Parmesan, parsley, yolk, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the mashed bread. Stir the mixture gently until combined and uniform. Form the mixture into 1 ¼-inch round meatballs (around 18 meatballs). Spread the meatballs out on a large plate, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
4. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until just smoking. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper-towel-lined plate and discard any fat left in the skillet.
5. Return the skillet and any browned bits to medium heat and add the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce the heat to low, and add the meatballs. Continue to simmer, turning the meatballs occasionally, until heated through, about 10 minutes.
6. While the meatballs are simmering, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook, stirring often, until the spaghetti tastes almost tender yet is still firm to the bite.
7. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the spaghetti, and return it to the pot. Stir in several large spoonfuls of the tomato sauce (without the meatballs) and toss to coat. Divide the pasta among six individual bowls. Loosen the remaining sauce as needed with the reserved pasta cooking water. Top each bowl with the remaining tomato sauce and three meatballs. Seve, passing the extra Parmesan separately.

Light Tomato Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
salt and black pepper

Combine 1 teaspoon of the oil, garlic, tomato paste, sugar, oregano and red pepper flakes in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the basil, remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 550 cal, 13 g fat, 105 mg chol, 73 g carbs, 38 g pro, 3 g fiber, 1270 mg sodium

Meatballs have always been my favorite use for ground turkey. I would never quick-cook beef meatballs in red sauce this way - I like them to simmer for quite a while. Somehow, turkey meatballs work this way though. They're much more tender than your standard meatball.

This wasn't a thick sauce but it went over very well with everyone. My son has become a really big fan of pasta, especially with a red sauce, so I'm trying to make it more often. This recipe isn't as complicated as it looks. America's Test Kitchen seems to write their recipes for the completely uninitiated. I don't know what is worse - that they referred you to a picture on another page that showed you how to properly mash bread and buttermilk together or that I actually turned to that page and looked at the picture.

Spring is on the way! I think I might start planning two weeks of recipes at a time, or maybe even further ahead. I think that will save me some time. I've spent most of the winter with my head in a cookbook but I need to turn my attention to other things.

Blast From The Past: Beef and Potato Tex-Mex Hash from September 2006. I'm going to make a list of recipes such as this, that are quick and easy and don't require the use of the oven. Once I have this list, I can fall back on one of these recipes at least once a week - that will take some pressure off, as far as recipe planning.

Question of the Day: Did you have a nice weekend?

1 comment:

Annie said...

I love to make turkey meatballs-I haven't made them in a while. This sounds like a recipe I'd like.

My weekend was great but it went by way too fast :(