Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

Visions of Italy Dance in my Head. I have so very many wonderful memories of holidays and birthdays in Italy with the fam…literally suspended moments in time that are priceless. Once we had a delightful houseparty and celebrated 80th, 85th, and 50th birthdays. This marinara takes me back to Villa Gerlino, in the sweet little village of Ambra. At the end of these journeys it’s important to remember not to cry because it’s over; but to smile because it happened. Bear with me here please…it looks like a really long recipe, but it comes together really quickly!
Count your rainbows, Not your thunderstorms.

For the Sauce:
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 Vidalia onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced*
2 Tbs chopped cilantro*
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, coarse chop*
1  28 oz cans San Marzano hand crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup Rotel, flavor of choice
2 Tbs sugar
1 t Kosher salt
2 t fresh ground black pepper

To Make:
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and basil.
Cook 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, Rotel, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Bring to simmer.
Simmer uncovered 25 minutes, stirring frequently.

* Note: If I am in a hurry, I use Gourmet Garden Garlic Paste, Cilantro Paste, and Basil Paste. They are all made with fresh ingredients, and I keep them in my fridge! They come in a tube in the produce section of your grocery. It helps tremendously when your garden is out of season or you need to get the meal going quickly.

Note: Taste sauce at this point. If it is too spicy; simply sweeten the pot! Add 2 Tbs sour cream or heavy cream and stir to combine and calm. You may also use honey, more sugar, or half cup of vegetable broth if cream products are not on hand. There is no compromise of flavor.

For the Turkey Balls:
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup panko
1/4 Vidalia onion, diced
2 t garlic powder
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 heaping Tbs Dijon mustard
1 t paprika
1 egg
1/2 t Kosher salt
1 t fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
Fresh Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

To Make:
Combine turkey, panko, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, mustard, paprika, egg, salt, and pepper in large bowl.
Gently mix with your hands.
Mixture should be soft to retain moisture during cooking.
If mixture is too moist, simply add a bit more Panko.
Form in to 18 turkey balls.
Heat olive oil and 1/2 cup of prepared sauce in large skillet on medium heat.
In batches, add turkey balls to skillet.
Cook 12 to 14 minutes, rotating often to brown all sides.
Transfer to plate while cooking next batch.
Serves 4 – 6.

To plate:
Place sauce on plate.
Place turkey balls on top of sauce.
Drizzle with a bit more sauce.
Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

*Note: This recipe doubles quite easily if you want extra for the freezer.
I cook the extra meatballs and freeze with prepared sauce.


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