Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Fresh Mozzarella Pearls

26 Sep

We are a pasta eating family. If I ask Max what he would like for dinner, he more often than not will say pasta. And pasta is one of the few things I can get Jasper to eat. This pasta is not your average spaghetti and meatballs.


Turkey meatballs are paired not with a traditional red sauce, but with grape tomatoes and a broth-y sauce made in the pan with the meatballs. The fresh mozzarella melts and gets coated with sauce making them even tastier. The original recipe calls for bocconcini, which are larger than the pearl sized mozzarella. I find those to be a little too big, so I suggest halving them before tossing them with the pasta.

Ingredients gathered!

Meatball lineup! It helps to have all the meatballs made before you start cooking. Make sure they are about the same size so they cook in the same amount of time.

Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Fresh Mozzarella Pearls

slightly adapted from Everyday Food, September 2007

1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons Smart Balance (you can use butter)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
8-9 ounces orecchiette
8 ounce container fresh mozzarella pearls or other size fresh mozzarella balls
Course salt and pepper

Place pot of salted water on stove to boil.

Prepare all ingredients so they are ready as you begin to assemble the turkey meatballs. Place ground turkey in large bowl, add breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, half Parmesan cheese, and half the parsley, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Combine all ingredients and form into balls. I made about 50-60 smallish meatballs.

Once water is to boil, add pasta. I used slightly more than half a 16 ounce bag of pasta.

Melt one tablespoon Smart Balance (or butter) in large skillet. Add meatballs and cook until all sides are browned. Turn the meatballs gently so they don’t fall apart, about 5-7 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cup water and simmer meatballs, stirring occasionally until water is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 10-12 minutes. Add grape tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften, 1-2 minutes.

Once pasta is cooked al dente, drain and return to pot. Add meatballs and tomatoes, remaining Smart Balance (or butter), parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Add mozzarella pearls and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


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