Friday, October 24, 2008

Dinner tonight... Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Ten years ago this weekend, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. Mrs. Plourde and Mrs. Capaldi made a special trip to D.C. to cheer me on, and various friends, such as Mr. and Mrs. Fleming, Mrs. Robertson, Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. Hartman, Mrs. Palmer and Ms. Bucher all came out that day to encourage me as well. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it was also one of the best days in my life as well, because not only did I accomplish something that I never dreamt I could do, I also felt incredibly loved and supported by so many people.

So, perhaps it was in solidarity with my carbo-loading, ten-years-prior self that had me craving pasta tonight. Or maybe it was just that ground turkey was on sale this week and I wanted to find a good recipe in which to use some. Whatever the case, I have to say that this recipe for Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs is absolutely fantastic. As a rule, I've always eschewed turkey except on days when there are no other options (i.e. Thanksgiving). But in my efforts to cook reasonably healthy for Mr. Fritz, I am trying to be open to new things. So, for the first time ever, I found myself intrigued by a recipe that called for ground turkey.

For this fairly simple dish, you start by making a basic red sauce in a wide non-stick skillet. Saute a little garlic in olive oil, add crushed tomatoes, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for around 20 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, boil the spaghetti. Once you have the spaghetti and the sauce going, you mix up ground turkey with a little Parmesan, a diced onion, bread crumbs, milk and an egg. And then you get to the part that I thought was genius: you form the turkey mixture into meatballs and actually cook them in the sauce.

For all I know, that's how all meatballs are made (this was my first foray not only into groundturkeyville but also into meatballville), but I just thought it was cool. Once the meatballs are cooked through (you spoon sauce over them to help the cause -- I also turned mine a couple of times to ensure even cooking), you add the cooked and drained spaghetti to the saute pan and mix it all up. I thought the end result was pretty spectacular. I mean, even this turkey-disliker was sold. Mr. Fritz noted that it would be even better with more sauce and I agree. I had cut the recipe (which serves 6) a little randomly: I'd halved the meatball part and thirded the sauce. Next time I'll halve each part and it should yield a saucier end result. In any case, I highly recommend this one and I definitely plan to make it again.

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