Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs
For the Meatballs:
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon ketchup optional
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 pound ground dark turkey meat
- 1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage links casings removed
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
For the Sauce:
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 1 large onion finely chopped 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to season
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons finely ground fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, basil, parsley, milk, ketchup if using, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic and onions. Using a wooden spoon, stir to blend. Add the ground turkey and sausage meat. Using fingers, gently mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop or a small ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (22 to 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy nonstick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through, 15 minutes.
- For the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with 2-inch-high sides over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the basil, the fennel, oregano and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired.
- Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs are heated through, about 10 minutes. Thin the sauce with chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed.
- Serve with grated Parmesan alongside.