As I stated in my first blog, I love meatloaf (any kind) and the same goes for meatballs. I am constantly re-inventing my meatball recipes and I like to experiment with all manner of ground meat and poultry.
Turkey is my favorite base for meatballs because it’s light and has an interesting flavor of its own–slightly gamey so it can stand up to strong seasonings. It’s also the most challenging to work with because it’s so lean. I try not to buy the extra-lean or 100% breast meat, but even the regular “lean” ground turkey can be dry and firm if not handled properly.
Tonight’s meatball’s are a spinoff of my neighbor Beppi’s poultry stuffing (see my prior post: “Rotolo di Tacchino”). Because I made this stuffing for a turkey breast a couple of weeks ago, I still have all the ingredients in my pantry and freezer–the seasoned bread crumbs, mortadella, fresh parsley, etc. So rather than stuff a bird with the ingredients, I’ve simply combined it with ground turkey. The only addition to the stuffing recipe is grated cheese–some parmiggiano–I always love some cheese in my meatballs (as opposed to meatloaf, in which I don’t usually put cheese).
The results are amazing–moist and flavorful–you must try these meatballs.
Italians wouldn’t serve meatballs together with pasta, but instead they would use the sauce from the meatballs to dress the pasta as a first course, then serve the meatballs for the second course wth a vegetable or salad.
Polpettine di Tacchino
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1/4 lb mortadella
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 slices white bread
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 c chopped parsley
1- 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
olive oil for frying
Soak bread with broth and let it absorb for about 10 minutes or so. Place mortadella in food processor and pulse until it becomes a fine dice. Add soaked bread and pulse a few times until mixture achieves the consistency of a porridge. In a mixing bowl, combine the mortadella and soaked bread with the ground turkey, eggs, nutmeg, seasoned crumbs, salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Form into balls about 1- 1/2″ in diameter.
In a broad nonstick skillet, heat a quarter cup of olive oil on high heat and add meatballs, making sure there is a bit of room around them in the skillet (do them in 2 batches if necessary).
Brown on all sides, then poach in basic tomato sauce (a quarter of an onion sauteed in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, with a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes added and simmered for 15 minutes).
Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and frozen indefinitely.