Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Turkey Meatballs Times Two

It hasn't been since January that this blog has spotlighted a food post.  Yikes!  I hadn't realized that it's been so long.  A sounding board for my recipes was one of the main reasons I started this blog...oops.  Honestly, I've been cooking and baking good stuff.  But, it's mostly the old standbys and all the really good ones are already on this blog, archived under the Dave's Faves tab above.  There have been a few recipes I've tried here and there, but with nothing fantastic to write home about.  I'd prefer to just share with you guys really, really, really good stuff.  And I hope you like it that way, LOL!  Well, I finally have a recipe to share on hopefully won't take that long again for me to find another goodie. 

First off, I record a few cooking shows on my DVR and one of them happens to be Giada de Laurentiis'.  A lot of her recipes are a little much for me, but a lot of times they're fantastic.  In fact, one of David's more recent likes is her turkey taquitos (my blog review here).  That one is well on it's way to becoming a fave.  Well, her show a couple weeks ago focused on making turkey meatballs two different ways, for dinner two different nights of the week.  David happened to watch this episode with me and both of us thought the recipes looked delicious.  I did tweak both a little, simply because neither of us care for fennel or kale.  But, if you'd like to see and print her original recipes, a link is provided below each recipe's title. 

Both dinner preparation options utilize half of this first recipe for meatballs.

Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs
Giada recipe, click here for her printable

1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark turkey meat
1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed**
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

**Note: I couldn't find turkey chorizo (as she calls it in her episode), so I used turkey bratwurst.  I'll be on the lookout for turkey sausage links or chorizo in the future now though!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, milk, eggs, onion, Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley, tomato paste, garlic, salt, and pepper. 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 (about 22 to 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy non-stick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Now, for the first night's preparation of the meatballs.  This sauce recipe I have slightly modified and halved, since only half the meatballs were to be served with this sauce and the original recipe is for all the meatballs.  The original Giada sauce recipe is included in the link shared above with the meatball recipe.

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (I just sprinkled a good amount of dried basil since this time of year isn't conducive to having fresh on hand)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I didn't end up using any, it wasn't needed)

Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with 2-inch-high sides over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, and basil. Bring to simmer. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 15 to 20 minutes. 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, if needed.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese alongside.

This recipe was absolutely delicious.  It's one of those items that you take a bite or two and you're like, "This is pretty good."  And then, by the time you finish, you're thinking it's better than you initially speculated. real favorite from this recipe paring is below.

First off, this is a pizza recipe, so I started with my favorite pizza crust, the Pioneer Woman's.  But, I like to healthify it a little by making it whole wheat.  Here's a link to one of her pages that contains the printable, but the way I make it is listed below.

Basic Pizza Crust
adapted from the Pioneer Woman

1/2 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
3/4 cup
warm water

2 cups
all-purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon
Kosher salt

less than 1/3 cup
olive oil

Sprinkle yeast over warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.

Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better. (for the recipe below, my crust was refrigerated a couple days...she isn't kidding, it really is better a few days old)

When you are ready to make the pizza, you can roll out the pizza with a rolling pin if you’d like, but sometimes it’s just as easy to throw it around and pull and stretch till it feels right. And when the crust is nice and thin, lay it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. (I usually roll it on my oiled pizza stone)

OK, so onto the important part...

Pizza Blanca with Meatballs

adapted from Giada, click here for her printable


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 dried bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for oiling the baking sheet and for drizzling
1 pizza crust (above recipe)
3/4 cup coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs, halved
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a heavy small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the bay leaf, nutmeg and garlic. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens to sauce consistency and is smooth, about 6 minutes. (Sauce is done when you can sweep your finger down the sauce-covered spoon and the line remains intact) Stir in the salt and pepper.  Remove and discard the bay leaf and garlic.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Prepare above listed pizza crust on cooking stone or sheet pan.

Spoon the sauce on top and spread evenly leaving a 1-inch border around the dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top. Arrange the meatballs, cut-side-down, on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until center of pizza is set. stinkin' good.  I will definitely be making this pizza again.

So, there you have it!  Delicious recipe!  Hopefully I'll have another one (or 3) to share with you again soon!

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