Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey and Pork Meatballs, with Spaghetti Marinara...

I'm home again after my second trip in two weeks, and so happy to not be sitting in an airplane, hoping that I don't get queasy during the landing, or sleeping in a hotel room.  On Monday night, after a few happy hour drinks with coworkers and a dinner of fish and chips at a pub near the hotel, I relaxed on a questionable hotel bedspread in my room, watching a movie I'd seen three times already, and drinking hot chocolate while dipping pieces of hard pretzels into my cup.

I missed being home.

I should have enjoyed having a whole king-sized bed to myself, but those are so big I feel like I get lost in the middle and can't find the edge during the night.

The night before I left, we made spaghetti with meatballs for dinner - they were extra special being stuffed with gooey mozzarella, and then smothered with marinara sauce.  The combination of ground pork and turkey gave them a nice richness without being too heavy, and the mild spiciness from a little cayenne and crushed red pepper was perfect with the oregano, paprika, garlic and Parmesan. We ended up with a lot of meatballs, so Jamie had plenty to eat while I was gone, instead of subsisting on scrambled eggs as he sometimes does when on his own.  As good as they were, though, he may not want to eat another meatball for a while after eating them for three days in a row.  :)

But now I'll say goodnight, since there's a gorgeous man saving me a spot in my favorite corner on the couch...

Marinara Sauce
printable recipe

  • 30 ounces tomato sauce
  • 30 ounces stewed or diced tomatoes in Italian seasoning
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil
In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients except the basil.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer, covered, for at least one hour; taste and adjust seasoning as needing.  Before serving, stir in freshly chopped basil.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey and Pork Meatballs
printable recipe

  • 1 pound Italian-seasoned ground turkey (93/7)
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (about 20 balls, weighing .2 ounces each / measuring 3/4 inch in diameter)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups Marinara Sauce (above)

In a large bowl, use your hands to combine all ingredients, except the mozzarella balls, olive oil and marinara sauce.  Weigh the meatball mixture out into 2-ounce portions, which will yield about 20 meatballs.  Take a portion of the meat, flatten it in your hand, place a mozzarella ball in the middle, then shape the meatball around the mozzarella.  Repeat with remaining meat and mozzarella.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray; set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick cast iron skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot enough to sizzle, add the meatballs, working in batches.  Sear the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on each side, for a nicely browned-crust.  Transfer to the baking dish; repeat with remaining meatballs.

Pour 4 cups of the marinara sauce (reserve the rest to toss with the spaghetti) over the meatballs in the baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook one pound of spaghetti according to the instructions on the box.  Toss the cooked spaghetti with the remainder of the marinara sauce.  Serve the spaghetti with the meatballs, spooning the extra sauce from the baking dish over the meatballs.  Top with more grated Parmesan and freshly chopped basil.

Yields enough pasta, sauce and meatballs for about 6-8 servings (2-3 meatballs per person)

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen