I was a bad Italian growing up. I hated tomato sauce, meatballs, and sausage. I drove my mother crazy, I’m sure, with my picky eating habits. The only way I would eat her Sunday night pastas was if she let me smother the tomato sauce with ricotta or if the pasta being served was ravioli (only freshly made from Little Italy in the Bronx, of course). Now, I am happy to announce, I have taken quite the opposite attitude…kind-of. I love tomatoes now, except for ketchup, and would happily eat tomato sauce any night of the week. Meatballs and sausage are where I still diverge from the norm…I’m all about the turkey/chicken sausage and meatballs, but am not so in love with their ground beef or pork counterparts. I think it’s been two years since I’ve eaten ground beef now and quite a few years since I’ve eaten pork sausage, and even though I know that I can eat anything in moderation, I just prefer the taste and texture of the poultry options more.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I ordered some gourmet pasta from Pappardelle’s a while ago and am still working my way through it, trying to find the perfect recipe for each flavor. This week, I knew I wanted to make the Toasted Onion and Garlic Fettuccine. I figured that a simple tomato sauce would really complement those flavors, but I also wanted to spice it up a bit in a way that wouldn’t detract from the taste of the pasta. I thought that I would go ahead and try to make some meatballs that even I, the meatball hater, would like. I found a recipe for sun-dried tomato turkey meatballs on the Food and Wine website that sounded intriguing, and so I decided to give them a try. I made a few changes to the recipe…I’m pretty sure I added more sun-dried tomatoes than was called for, and I baked them instead of fried them (does that surprise you?). Even though most people complain about turkey meatballs being dry, these were actually really moist, probably because I was careful about not over-cooking them. I think I might actually try serving these to my picky family members when I go home over spring break, while I laugh silently at the fact that now I am the one complaining about their eating habits.

My roommate and a lot of people I know have been sick this week, I think because of the rapidly changing weather patterns, so everyone make sure to eat your vitamin C (tomato sauce is a great way to do it)!

Toasted Onion Fettuccine with Sun-dried Tomato Turkey Meatballs
Serves 4, adapted from Food and Wine

1 lb toasted onion fettuccine (or any fettuccine of your choice)
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
1.3 lb extra lean ground turkey
6-7 pieces of whole sun-dried tomatoes (not the oil-packed ones)
1/4 cup egg beaters or one egg
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp almond milk (or any milk)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp parsley

In a food processor, process the sun-dried tomatoes, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper until finely ground. Add in the breadcrumbs and pulse so that everything gets mixed together. In a separate bowl, mix together the turkey, egg, and milk. Fold in the breadcrumb mixture with your HANDS (yes this is the fun part…it’s like playing with play-doh which my mother never let me do). Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape the meat mixture into little meatballs, approximately 20. Place on the baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes.

While all of this is going on, it is probably a good idea to start boiling the water for your pasta, since in my experience this is the rate-limiting step. Once the meatballs are in the oven, heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Mince the remaining clove of garlic and add it to the pan. Saute for 30 seconds. Add in the tomatoes, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and heat through, simmering until the mix thickens a bit.

Once the pasta is done cooking, mix everything together and mangia!

I will be submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Ben of What’s Cooking.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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10 Responses to A New Twist On An Old Favorite

  1. Natashya says:

    I have never heard of toasted onion fettuccine, sounds wonderful!
    My daughter doesn’t eat beef or pork either (except bacon!) I would love to get a meat grinder so I can use fresh turkey breasts more often in dishes like this.

  2. Ruth says:

    I can’t imagine an Italian home and no tomato-based pasta. So glad you outgrew that.

    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous dish with Presto Pasta Nights.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    That looks really great – I love chicken and turkey sausages.

  4. Ben says:

    LOL that happens. When I was growing up I didn’t like peppers, that in Mexico is a sin. :-p Great entry, thanks for participating in PPN 🙂

  5. Reeni? says:

    I used to pick the green pepper and onion out of my Mom’s tomato sauce. I couldn’t go without them in it, today. This looks really yummy, very flavorful. The onion fettuccine caught my attention too!

  6. Joanne says:

    Natashya – I’m okay with buying the turkey from the supermarket, but I’m sure it would taste better fresh. I think my opinion on beef and pork is that if I’m going to eat it, I want the best (a.k.a. filet mignon, pork tenderloin, and nice center cut pork chops). A girl’s gotta have standards ;P.

    Ruth – I’m glad I outgrew it too. Now I eat tomatoes like they were candy!

    Elizabeth – Thanks for the comment, they are some of my favorite things to experiment with.

    Ben – Isn’t it odd how our tastes change? They do say our tastebuds regrow every five years or so, so I guess that accounts for some of it…

    Reeni – I am loving the flavored pasta at the moment. Now if only I had a pasta maker, I could make it myself instead of buying it!

  7. n.o.e says:

    Have you tried the Al Dente flavored pastas? They’re pretty good too. Your meatballs look delicious; I prefer poultry-based sausages, and usually mix ground turkey and beef in my meatballs and meatloaf.

    To respond to a comment you left on my blog (thanks for visiting, btw) panettone and kugelhopf taste very similar to me. I haven’t compared recipes, but they are at least cousins, if not identical twins!


  8. Ty'sMommy says:

    I absolutely love Papardelle’s. They have a stand at our farmer’s market in St Louis. My favorite is the Orange Szechuan Linguine.

  9. Joanne says:

    noe – I have seen those pastas but never tried them. They are much easier to find, so I should pick some up.

    Ty’sMommy – Lucky you! I have to get mine by ordering it on-line. I haven’t tried those (yet) but they will make it onto my list after your recommendation!

  10. […] Five years ago…Cajun Chickpea Cakes with Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Oatmeal-Raisin Pancakes, Fettuccine with Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Meatballs […]

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