Turkey Meatballs with Pine Nuts and Currants in Tomato Sauce




Turkey meatballs are a great alternative to those made with beef and pork.  The secret to making good meatballs is to brown them before adding to the sauce and to use the best quality canned tomatoes and grated cheese.  These meatballs are just as delicious pan fried without the sauce.  If you elect not to cook them in sauce, be sure to cook the meatballs thoroughly before serving. 

Turkey Meatballs with Pine Nuts and Currants in Tomato Sauce

Difficulty Rating:  Easy
Makes 4 servings.


For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons dry plain breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons dried currants
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil for browning

For the Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup onion, finely diced chopped
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)


Make the Meatballs:  Place all the ingredients in large mixing bowl. Add 3 tablespoons warm water and combine using your hands.  Mix well for 2 minutes.  If time allows, refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the ingredients to absorb all the flavors and firm up even more.

Form mixture into 2-inch round balls using a cookie scoop or your hands. 

Brown the Meatballs:  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sear the meatballs in batches on both sides, about 2 minutes on each side.  Transfer the meatballs to a platter. 

Make the Sauce:  Place the San Marzano tomatoes in a bowl and crush the tomatoes using your hands. 

Heat the olive oil in a large high-sided skillet.  Add the onion and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. 

Stir in the tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, basil, and 3/4 cup warm water.  Bring to a boil. 

Add meatballs and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add sugar if the sauce seems acidic.  Bring to a simmer for approximately 50 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and meatballs are tender.  If necessary, add additional water during cooking to prevent sauce from sticking. 

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