Penne with Turkey Meatballs

I have used turkey as wells a beef and veal and these are the MOST wonderful meatballs ever! Easy and a crowd pleaser!!!!!! I like making it since it's easy to prepare, uses only a few ingredients (I usually have everything except the turkey on hand), and serves about four people comfortably. I've found that you don't really need fresh picked parsley, the parsley flakes found in the spice isle work just fine. Also, I wouldn't really worry about overworking the meatballs, in fact, if you don't get them to the right consistency they will fall apart in the pan.

Penne with Turkey Meatballs

Yield: 4 to 6 servings   

  • 1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 3/4 cup grated Romano
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 pound dried penne pasta


In a large bowl, add bread crumbs, eggs, milk, 1/2 cup Romano, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well. Add turkey and gently combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape into golf-size balls.

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. When almost smoking, add meatballs and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes. Turn meatballs and brown other side. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow meatballs to simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and keep warm on stove. Be careful not to over handle the meatballs since they are soft and fragile.

In a large pot, bring to a boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse pasta with water since you want to retain the pasta's natural starches so that the sauce will cling to the penne.

Remove meatballs from sauce and place in serving bowl. Pour some tomato sauce over meatballs, but leave about 2/3 cup of sauce in skillet. Place the cooked penne into the skillet with the remaining sauce and toss well. Pour sauced pasta in a large serving bowl. Serve alongside the meatballs. Sprinkle remaining Romano on top.

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