Turkey Meatballs with Tomato & Roasted Pepper Ragu

If you’ve been following me long enough you know that I have a love/hate thing for meatballs. I love them, but I can’t really make them. Now don’t get me wrong, the taste isn’t the issue. It’s making it into an actual ball that’s my problem. These were wonderful and I enjoyed the whole process knowing that I was feeding my family something equally healthy as much as tasty.

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Turkey Meatballs

1 lb ground turkey

3 slices bread*

1/2 cup milk

1/2 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 celery stalk, finely diced

1 large egg

3 T flat parsley, chopped

2 T fresh oregano (or 2 tsp dried)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 – 1 tsp nutmeg (to taste)

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 cup flour

3 T EVOO

1. Tear the bread up into small pieces and place into bowl. Cover with milk and let stand  until the bread has absorbed the milk. *I used wheat bread which takes a little longer to absorb the milk; about 20 minutes. If using white it should only take about 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor you can throw the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in at once to chop everything up together.

3. In a large bowl combine the turkey meat, soggy bread, diced veggies, egg, oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and paprika. Using your hands and blend the ingredients thoroughly.

4. Form golf ball-sized balls and roll them through the flour.

5. Heat the EVOO over medium heat. Working in batches cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes, browning them on all sides. *One of my few meatball tricks has always been to put the meatballs into the oven to brown before finishing up in a sauce or other cooking process. This method would work just as well as cooking them in oil. However, it may even be better to do both methods since these particular meatballs are so mushy. Next time!

6. Place browned meatballs into sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Tomato and Roasted Pepper Ragu

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

3 T + 2 tsp EVOO

1 lb. fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 red jalapeno chili*, finely chopped

2 T tomato paste

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp oregano

1 bay leaf

2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes

salt & pepper

1 tsp basil (fresh if you have it: 1/3 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 450*. Line a cast iron pan or roasting pan with foil and heat in hot oven for about 5 minutes.

2. Rub the 2 tsp EVOO over the peppers and place into hot pan. Using tongs,cook the peppers for 20 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes, or until the skins are blackened and blistering.

3. Remove peppers from oven, place into bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap for an additional 15 minutes. This will steam the peppers and finish their cooking process.

4. Allow the peppers to cool slightly then peel off the outer skins. Remove the seeds. Cut into strips set aside.

5. In a large pot, heat 3 T EVOO over medium heat. Add the onions, jalapeno (*I could only find green- worked fine), and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato paste, stir in well, and cook for 1 minute.

6. Squeeze the canned tomatoes in your hands over the pot as you are adding them in. This will crush them slightly and add a bit more of their juices to the sauce.

7. Add the herbs. Stir in the fresh tomatoes and the roasted bell pepper strips. *If using fresh basil wait to add until after the first hour of cooking. 

8. Simmer gently over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, allowing the flavors to blend. Season to taste and add a 1/2 cup water after the first hour. *Or add 3 about ladles pasta water.

*Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve about 4 ladles worth of pasta water (3 for the sauce, 1 for the pasta). Toss the pasta with the pasta water, 2 T butter and some chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley. Serve with ragu and meatballs.

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6 thoughts on “Turkey Meatballs with Tomato & Roasted Pepper Ragu

  1. Your Turkey Meatballs with Tomato Roasted Pepper Ragu is just amazing! Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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