Nope....didn't see the movie.....something about being cloudy and meatballs? I dunno. My kids aren't little anymore so that movie will just have to wait for cable or something.
Anyways....maybe it's because of the movie and all the previews but I've had meatballs on the brain lately.
I've made meatballs several times over the years. All from beef. My youngest child is on a no-beef kick for a month and requested turkey meatballs.
Sure...no problem. Let's make meatball sandwiches!!
And it just so happened that I saw a great sounding recipe for Marinara Sauce over at Michele's blog, My Italian Grandmother. Michele is one of my great buddies over at BakeSpace.com. Ya, I'm a regular in BakeSpace. If you haven't noticed from several of my posts, there's a lot of interaction between the members there. All sorts of stuff going on in the forums. We get tips and ideas about food, review wines, challenge our skills with a different food theme each month and basically have a whole heck of a lot of fun.
Ok, back to the Meatball Sammies....
I basically have 2 recipes here. I spose you should start with the marinara sauce and while that's simmering away, you can make the meatballs.
For my purposes (and thinking ahead) I doubled the recipe for both the sauce and the meatballs and froze what wasn't used for the sammies.
2 - 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
(I just realized I didn't use the basil as specified in the recipe, which should be 4 - 6 tsp chopped fresh basil, less if using dried...like maybe 1 or 2 tsps?)
2 - 4 tsps Italian seasoning
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (this is the first time I had ever heard of adding this ingredient to marinara sauce and it's an awesome addition. Adds a depth and a slight bite. I only used a tiny bit though and smashed them up with my mortar in pestle first.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsps sugar
Add the EVOO in a large pot and saute the onions until just tender. Add the Italian seasoning (and basil if you remembered LOL) and crushed peppers.
Then add all that garlic!!!
Saute for just a minute or so....the aroma is incredible!!
Stir in the tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 - 40 minutes.
Adjust seasoning according to your taste and serve however you wish.
I have to say that this is the best marinara sauce that I have ever made. The crushed peppers made it just slightly spicy...but not enough to be concerned about. You couldn't tell if it was hot from the temperature or from an ingredient. I was great! My daughter thought it was store bought. Now I take that as a compliment because of the thickness of the sauce. When I use the jar kind I always season it up...adding more garlic, Italian seasoning, etc. So trust me, she didn't mean that it tasted like a jar of spaghetti sauce cuz she's never been served Prego, straight up! LOL
Now...while thats simmering away....get ready to get down and dirty!!!
(this recipe was also doubled)
2 lbs ground turkey
1 cup dry bread crumbs, w/ Italian seasoning
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat your oven to 400' F
I like the flavor of sauteed onions....so I always saute them in butter prior to adding 'em to the meat. Just let them cool a bit before working with them cuz they're hot.
Put all the ingredients into a good size bowl...
Now it's time to get down and dirty. No spoons allowed....use your hands to mix it all up
Hmm....because turkey is a bit "wetter" than beef, I think this needs some more bread crumbs...
aaaaaah.....much better!! You want the meat to hold it's form so they don't become mini patties while cooking.
Wash your hands and then here's a little tip for you. Cover your hands with some oil... get it all in between your fingers before you start forming those meatballs.....
Keeps them from sticking to your hands. Works wonders!!!
Grab a tablespoon and scoop up enough meat to make your meatball, you want them to be about 1 - 1 1/2". When forming your balls, you don't wanna work the meat tooo much. They become too firm or dense or....something. (I know one particular blogger who would have a hay day with that statement!!! LMAO)
Now I use to plop the meatballs into a frying pan and fry them up. But I always ended up with these oddly shaped, 3 dimensional triangles. Tasted fine...but I dunno....they need to be round, right? So now I just put them on a cookie sheet and bake them. Soooo much easier.
Because this is turkey and not ground beef, and there's a lot less fat in them, I sprayed my pan with cooking spray. If it were beef, that wouldn't be necessary.
Put them into your 400' F oven and let them cook for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until the insides are no longer pink. (you just might have to sacrifice a meatball to check on that, no worries, you can just stuff that one into your mouth and no one will know the difference).
Now I have to tell you. These are different. The flavor is wonderful. But the texture is not the same as ground beef. They are more dense....and the outsides are...I dunno....almost smooth. It's hard to explain. It's almost like the meat "sealed" during the baking process.
Ok...time to assemble. Whew...this has been quite the process but the outcome really is worth it.
Grab a nice big roll and slice it in half, lengthwise
I like my bread toasted so I sprayed some cooking spray on it and stuck it in a hot pan for a minute or so...
Got a little crispy on one side but thats ok....just means more flavor!! YUM
I then wrapped the outside of the roll in tinfoil and placed a few meatballs inside....
Poured the marinara sauce over it and topped it with a few slices of mozzarella cheese..
Then....comes the piece de resistance! Put that sucker into a really hot oven or under a broiler and let the cheese get all melty and browned....
Now THATS a meatball sandwich!!!