Originally the first time I made this (Tyler Florence ultimate meatballs)I made it with a combination of beef and pork 1 1/2 pounds of each, but then I went on the Mediterranean diet and I now use strictly a good grade of ground turkey breast. I add a bit more than the recipe below, just to add flavor, but I LOVE the bread soaked in milk(traditionally white bread). It really makes for a fall apart meatball.
To the onion/parsley mixture I add roasted red pepper, and a 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
I use my favorite marinara sauce that I have added some fresh garlic, onions, deglaze with red wine.
Because the quantities in this recipe are large and there is only two of us; I make meatballs and divide them into meals and seal-a-meal them into dinner sized portions for later. They freeze beautifully. Of course you will want to cut your sauce proportions down accordingly.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup milk
4 slices whole wheat or grain bread
3 lbs. Turkey ground turkey breast (or 1/2 beef and pork or split with your favorite meat combination)
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups Marinara sauce
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan – you’ll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don’t overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Shape into LARGE meatballs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the marinara sauce over. Shower with the mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and put it onto a large serving platter. Pour on the rest of the sauce and mix well. Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with basil leaves. Serve immediately along with extra cheese.