Linguine and Turkey Meatballs

Pasta and meatballs is a true classic and the ultimate comfort food. I love a large pot of pasta with warm sauce and homemade meatballs, especially in the colder months when I crave heartier foods. In this recipe, I have swapped our ground beef for ground turkey to make the meal a bit lighter and healthier. Ground beef is delicious don’t get me wrong, but recently I have been swapping it for ground turkey and in my opinion, the results are much better. Turkey has a more mild flavor profile, allowing it to really hold the spices you are working with. When you use ground beef, you can taste that strong beef flavor and while it is useful for some recipes, others I want the spices and seasonings to shine through. It is a win-win that it is a healthier and tastier option. I am sure I will get some shade from true Italians because this is definitely not authentic, but it still tastes delicious! The homemade sauce here is key too – I stopped buying jarred pasta sauce a few years back for two reasons. The first, most jarred sauces are loaded full of so many extra ingredients and sugar that is absolutely not needed in a sauce. So by making your own, you can control exactly what goes in to it. The second reason, is I once heard (or read) Gordon Ramsay say that people that buy sauce are the worst because it is the most simple thing to make in the kitchen and there is absolutely no reason to not make it at home – I am sure he used a few different choice words, but you get the idea. It may take a bit of extra effort than popping open a jar, but the results are so much better. You get a higher quality, better tasting, and less crap filled sauce.

For the Sauce:

  • 1 32oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Red Wine
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Oregano
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 Sprigs, Fresh Thyme
  • Salt + Pepper, To Taste

For the Meatballs:

  • 1lb Ground Turkey
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Oregano
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 Cups Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper

Additional Ingredients:

  • 1lb Linguine
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Optional: Fresh Parmesan for Topping, Crushed Red Pepper
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Prep Time: 2+ Hours
  • Cook Time: 40 Minutes

To Make:

  1. First let’s get the sauce going so it can simmer. In a medium pot, add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, 5 minced garlic cloves, 1 1/2 tbsp oregano, 1 1/2 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp onion powder, the fresh thyme and rosemary and salt + pepper. Heat over medium to high until it starts to bubble, stirring frequently. Once the sauce starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low, cover and continue cooking for 2 hours – stirring occasionally so the sauce doesn’t burn.
  2. Once the sauce has been simmering and you’re ready to cook the meatballs and pasta grab a medium mixing bowl.
  3. In the mixing bowl, add the ground turkey, 2 tbsp minced garlic, 2 tbsp oregano, 1 1/2 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp onion powder, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix to combine well then form in to 2oz balls and set aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the linguine and cook until al dente – about 6-8 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water then drain the rest. Add about 1 cup of sauce + 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the noodles and toss to prevent them from sticking.
  5. While the pasta cooks, let’s cook the meatballs. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil to coat. Once hot, add in a layer of meatballs – make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan and cook the meatballs in batches if needed. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, flip, cover and continue cooking for another 8 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Repeat this step until all meatballs have been cooked.
  6. Now time to serve – divide the pasta between 4 to 6 bowls and top each bowl with 2-3 meatballs. Top with any remaining sauce and sprinkle with fresh parmesan. Serve and Enjoy!

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