The Recipes

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Okay, it's time for me to get off of my seafood kick!  Normally, I say if you're going to have something like a burger or pasta with meat sauce... go nuts.  Have it on occasion and really enjoy each bite.  But, I had the ground turkey in my freezer and the pasta in my pantry and figured I'd take on the challenge of making a healthier version taste just as good as the full-fat versions.  If you want a lighter take on comfort food, this one's for you.



Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients:

- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1/2 of a 14.5-oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1 T. tomato paste
- 3/4 c. red wine
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- splash Worstershire sauce
- 1/2 lb. ground turkey
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- handful of bread crumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves stripped and chopped
- 1/4 c. cooked whole wheat spaghetti per person
- salt
- pepper
- olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large pot, heat 1 T. of olive oil.  Add the onion, season with salt, and let the onion soften for 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic, dried herbs, and red pepper and stir for another minute.  Add in the tomato paste and stir to combine.  Add the wine and let it reduce by half; about 4 minutes.  Add in the tomato sauce, season again with salt and pepper, and let it cook over a low simmer.

In a bowl, combine the turkey, egg, worstershire, parsley, fresh oregano and bread crumbs.  If desired, reserve some of the fresh herbs for garnish later.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set up a cooling rack on a sheet tray.  Taking about a T. of the turkey mixture at a time, roll into small balls and spread them over the sheet tray.  Drizzle them with olive oil and transfer to the oven.  Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes.

While the meatballs bake, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt it liberally.  Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions.  Note: Cooking times for whole wheat pasta are generally longer than other pastas, so make sure you check the package.

Remove the meatballs from the oven and transfer as many as you'd like to the pasta sauce.  You will likely have leftovers.  Let them simmer for a few minutes to let everything come together.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little bit of the starchy cooking liquid.  Return the past to the same hot pot.  Ladle in the sauce and meatballs, adding a little bit of the cooking liquid and stir to combine.  Plate the pasta and meatballs.  Garnish with the fresh herbs.  If you have some parmesan or pecorino cheese on hand, feel free to add the cheese as garnish as well.