Classic Homemade Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti

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It’s been a while since I last posted but there is so much material I have stocked up that I hope it makes up for my absence.

After coming back from my 2 month long relaxing India trip, I am really pumped up to try new things at home. Both me and my husband are really fond of meatballs. It’s one of our staples that we like to have at least once a week. My husband generally avoids red meat so we mostly go for Aidell’s caramelized chicken meatballs from Costco. I always had the impression that meatballs are very complicated to make at home, but surprisingly they are pretty easy and I got them right on my first try (which is a very rare event..:P).

So here is the process-

Total time: 40-45mins

Makes 25-30 meatballs depending on the size.

Ingredients:-

Meatballs

  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup, optional
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 pound ground dark turkey meat
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to season
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to season
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1.5 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Recipe:-

For the meatballs:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan, basil, parsley, milk, ketchup, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic and onions. Mix well using a spatula. Add the ground turkey. Gently mix all the ingredients using your fingers until thoroughly combined.
  2. Form the meat mixture into balls (25-30 meatballs approximately). Place the meatballs on a nonstick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

For the tomato sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the basil, the fennel, oregano and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired.
  2. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs are heated through. Thin the sauce with chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time.
  3. Serve with grated Parmesan alongside and some slices of freshly toasted french bread.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/classic-italian-turkey-meatballs-recipe.html

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Couscous with Italian Sausage and Fennel

DSC_0787I had never used fennel as a vegetable before, so I was eager to try it out in a recipe that would compliment it well. Couscous, by virtue of being adaptable to different flavours, was a perfect fit for this recipe. To satisfy our carnivorous souls and also to enhance the flavour, I decided to combine these with some fresh italian sausage.

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced olives
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8½ ounces mild italian sausage, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large fennel bulb chopped (keep some fronds for garnishing and discard the rest)
  • ½ teaspoon harissa paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes
  • 1 cup couscous
  • salt if needed (depends on the chicken stock you are using, low sodium one would require additional salt on top)
  • freshly chopped basil or fennel fronds for garnishing

Method:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add the garlic. Saute for a few seconds and add the fennel.
  2. Once the fennel turns soft, add the sausage and stir-fry on medium to high heat for a few minutes.
  3. Add the harissa. When the sausage starts leaving oil and turns dark brown, add the olives, sundried tomatoes, oregano and chili flakes. Cook for a few seconds and then add the chicken stock and salt if required.
  4. Once it comes to a boil, add the couscous, stir well, and turn off the heat. Cover the pot immediately and let the dish steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Fluff the couscous with a fork. It should be soft and fluffy, if not, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of boiling stock or water over it, cover, and steam for a few minutes. Be careful not to add too much water as it can easily overcook. Garnish with freshly chopped basil or fennel fronds

Serve hot with Tzatziki Sauce(optional). You can find the recipe for Tzatziki here.

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Sausage Broccoli Pasta

DSC_8294-Edit-2After my successful attempt at Aglio-e-Olio, I was tempted to explore more sauceless pasta recipes, so here is one of them.

For this you’ll need:

  • 7 ounces Whole Wheat or any other regular pasta
  • 1tbsp minced garlic
  • 1½  tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1½  tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup  broccoli sliced into small florets
  • 3 sausages links diced
  • ½  cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup sliced portobello mushrooms
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley for garnishing
  • Grated parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Boil and drain the pasta as per the instructions on its packet.
  2. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan on low-medium heat. Add the garlic and the sausages. Saute for 5-7 mins.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cover the pan with a lid for 3-4 mins. Once the mushrooms start shrivelling up, remove the lid.
  4. Add the broccoli, vegetable stock, salt and pepper to taste and cook for another few minutes till broccoli becomes slightly soft (Don’t overcook the broccoli).
  5. Finally add the pasta and some parmesan and mix well.  Turn off the heat. Sprinkle some chilli flakes and garnish with freshly chopped parsley. You can also sprinkle some parmesan while serving.

Your yummy sauceless pasta is ready..:)

(You can use Chicken stock instead of  Vegetable stock and you can add veggies as per your preference.)

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

spaghetti alio e olio

This popular Italian recipe takes minutes to make and makes you realize, how sometimes a simple recipe can be so purely delicious. Above all, its low in calories and high on flavor. This can easily be a part of my staple diet.

This recipe has various versions, here is mine.

For this all you need is:

  • 7 ounces Brown Rice or Whole Wheat spaghetti
  • 11/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 11/2 tsp Chili Flakes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
 

Method:

  1. Boil and drain the spaghetti as per the instructions on its cover.
  2. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan on low-medium heat. Add the Chili flakes and Garlic and saute till garlic starts changing its color.
  3. Add spaghetti to the pan and sprinkle salt and pepper.
  4. Mix well and turn off the gas.
  5. Garnish with freshly chopped basil and serve warm with Ciabatta or  Sourdough bread.

(You can be alter this version and add toppings as per your liking. Though I like the burst of pure flavors in this recipe.)

pic source: http://www.yumsugar.com/Spaghetti-Garlic-Olive-Oil-Chili-Flakes-21398824/