Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Turkey Meatballs…with all the spaghetti you can eat.
Because really, is there any other way to eat meatballs?
Well, yes, there is, but pasta is the best way to serve up saucy meatballs like these. And pasta with a good dusting of parmesan cheese, because if you’re eating meatballs and pasta, you might as well add on the parmesan too.
It’s kind of the only way.
Seeing as though it is finally Thursday, and the weekend is right around the corner (yes, yes, yes), I thought I’d share this plate full of cheesy meatballs and pasta with you guys. I don’t know what it is about Friday and Saturday nights, but they always leave me craving some kind of Italian like pasta or pizza. This is probably because when I was a kid my dad would make pasta and pizza on Friday and Saturday nights. In fact, there’s a recipe in the HBH cookbook titled Dad’s Friday Night Pasta. Have any of you tried it? It’s one of my all time favorite recipes. If you have not made it yet, I’d make it soon.
Today I’m sharing a lightened up version of everyone’s favorite Italian comfort food, spaghetti and meatballs!
To be honest, meatballs are not my most favorite food on the planet. I have never really loved them, but I think that’s mostly because I’m not a huge ground beef person. Which is probably why whenever I do make meatballs, they are never very traditional. Enter these ricotta meatballs made with ground turkey (or chicken), lots of ricotta cheese, and flavor packed sun-dried tomatoes. Nothing traditional about these, but oh my gosh, they are so good.
Especially when tossed with a quick homemade basil and white wine tomato sauce…along with pasta and parmesan, of course.
Again, again, SO GOOD.
The meatballs balls are a pretty simple mix of ricotta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and parsley. There are no eggs and no breadcrumbs. The ricotta cheese acts as a binder, helping to hold the meatballs together, while flavoring them at the same time. While the ricotta is delicious in these meatballs, the key ingredient in this recipe is really the sun-dried tomatoes.
It’s probably no secret that I love sun-dried tomatoes. They hold so much delicious flavor and I often add them to my recipes to add in an extra layer of color and flavor. The tomatoes not only add flavor, but the oils in them help to keep the lean ground turkey from drying out, which is awesome seeing as most of the time meatballs can tend to be on the dry side.
To keep things easy and simple, I prefer to bake my meatballs rather than pan-fry. This just creates less of a mess, it’s also much healthier. Plus I don’t have to stand over the stove and tend to tiny meatballs for thirty minutes. Trust me, baking is the way to go.
While the meatballs bake up in the oven, I like to make a quick tomato sauce using ingredients straight outta my pantry. It’s amazing what a couple of cans of good San Marzano tomatoes, some white wine, and a few handfuls of fresh basil can do.
Put it all together, add some pasta, and a few gratings of fresh parmesan, and dinner is done. Simple, yummy, and a pretty healthy…ish.
- 1 pound ground turkey or chicken
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup marinated oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 cans (28 ounces) San Marzano tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- spaghetti, for serving
- 1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- 2. Add the turkey, ricotta, parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup basil, the parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a bowl. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and roll the meat into 2 tablespoon size balls (will make 10-12 meatballs), placing them on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp on the outside, but not yet cooked through on the inside.
- 3. To a large pot set over medium heat, add the tomatoes – crushing them by hand as you add them, the wine, remaining 2 cloves garlic, oregano, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stir in the meatballs and cook stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup basil.
- 4. Divide the pasta among plates and spoon the meatballs and sauce over the pasta. Top with fresh basil.
By : Halfbakedharvest