Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Turkey and ricotta meatballs

I made another recipe from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories; this time, it was turkey and ricotta meatballs. I love meatballs that are cooked in the oven, because it is so much simpler than the stovetop method!

You’ll need to start by making ricotta with this recipe, and this can be made ahead of time. You can also make and cook the meatballs ahead of time and then warm then up in the sauce before serving, which is what I did. I served them with orzo, but rice or polenta would be good, too. The yield was supposed to be 30 meatballs, but I got 46, which fed all of us for more than 2 nights.

2 28-oz. cans of whole peeled tomatoes
7 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
7 garlic cloves (4 thinly sliced + 3 minced)
kosher salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 ½ cups (300 g.) lactose-free ricotta cheese (see above for the link)
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 lbs. ground turkey (preferably dark meat)

Pour the contents of the cans of tomatoes into a large bowl (set the cans aside but do not throw them out) and crush the tomatoes with your hands. (This gets messy, and you can use kitchen scissors or a potato masher instead if you want.) Rinse one of the cans with about ¼ cup of water, pour it into the second can and swish it around to get all the excess tomato out of the cans, and then pour the water into the tomato bowl.

In a large saucepan or pot, over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbsp. of the olive oil, add the sliced garlic, and cook, stirring, until it begins to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and a very large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring every so often, until it is slightly reduced and has lost any tin-can taste, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 °F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle 2 Tbsp. olive oil onto the baking sheet and use your hands to rub it over the entire surface of the sheet. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the minced garlic, basil, parsley, ricotta, parmesan, turkey, and 1 Tbsp. salt. Blend everything together gently but authoritatively with your hands until well mixed. Then, form golf ball-sized meatballs (you can wet your hands if the mixture gets too sticky). Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet as you form them. Drizzle the meatballs with the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil and roast until they’re browned and firm to the touch, about 25 minutes (I checked the temperature with a thermometer to be sure).

Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the meatballs to the simmering sauce (discard whatever juice and fat is left on the baking sheet). Cook the meatballs for 10 minutes in the sauce (they can be left in the gently simmering sauce for up to 1 hour) and serve, sprinkled with parmesan.

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