Turkey Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce with Fresh Mozzarella

April 8, 2013 • Main Dishes, Poultry, Recipes

Weather: 10 measly degrees, as Alaska laughs everyone who thinks it’s spring
What I’m listening to: Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind

I have a soft spot for meatballs. Moist, flavorful meatballs swimming in spicy tomato sauce and covered with melty cheese. I wonder how many others out there have the same soft spot?

collageIf you haven’t already met her, allow me to introduce you to Monique from Ambitious Kitchen. Recently, I’ve been seeing her recipes everywhere. I’ll click on tempting, interesting recipe photos on Pinterest and say, “Oh there’s Monique again!” A drool-worthy Instagram photo? Ambitious Kitchen. Because I keep bumping into her in the cyber sense, I’ve tried several of her recipes lately and have loved them.

IMG_4371One thing that keeps me coming back for more is that Monique does things in recipes that I would never dream of. For example, it would never occur to me to put cumin (and a good amount of it, too) into an Italian-inspired meatball dish. Nor dijon mustard. These ingredients blew my mind. Who does that?! Monique does. She pushes me out of my comfort zone in an inspiring way, breaking rules here and there in a way that just simply seems to work. I adapted this meatball recipe to feed my family of five, so I adjusted the amounts a bit, but the essence of the recipe is still the same, resulting in moist little morsels of meatball bliss. Then, because it was extremely similar to Monique’s version (and because Burrata can be difficult to get my hands on here in my part of Alaska), I hopped over to one of my favorite Alaska from Scratch recipes, Ricotta Gnocchi with Basil & Fresh Mozzarella, and grabbed that sauce recipe to pair with these fantastic meatballs. I truly hope you love the results.

Turkey Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce with Fresh Mozzarella

Tender, flavorful turkey meatballs in a simple spicy tomato sauce with basil and fresh mozzarella. Adapted from [Ambitious Kitchen|http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2012/08/turkey-meatballs-in-spicy-tomato-basil-sauce-with-burrata/].

Yields: 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste (my tomato sauce already includes a fair amount of salt, so I didn't need much, maybe 1/4 teaspoon; some tomato sauces have less so you may need to add more)
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment.

To a large bowl, add the ground turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, oregano, basil, cumin, mustard, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and cayenne, if using. Mix together until combined. Shape mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until cooked through and browned.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by heating the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes, stirring, one minute, or until fragrant but without browning the garlic. Add tomato sauce to the pan, followed by sugar and salt. Turn heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until the meatballs are finished baking.

When the meatballs are done, add them to the skillet with the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs to coat. Sprinkle the fresh mozzarella over top and allow to cook 5 more minutes or so until the cheese melts. Sprinkle the fresh basil over top and serve over pasta cooked al dente.