Stuffed Turkey Meatballs with Mushroom Marinara

First off, thank you to all the incredible chefs and home cooks out there! I can’t tell you how many times a simple scroll through my Instagram motivates me to try a new recipe or to re-create a special dish.  Tonight’s meal is the result of such inspiration!  I recently saw a gorgeous food pic featuring chicken parmesan meatballs… I even screen shotted it, it looked so yummy!  I followed up by looking up the recipe and buying the necessary ingredients.  When I set out to make the meal from the picture, I decided to put my own spin on it to see if I too, could make a picture perfect dish! In actuality, I didn’t need the recipe I was so inspired; instead I followed my instincts and what resulted, I am hoping you’ll agree, is not only worthy of a photo, but simply delicious!

Ingredients: Feeds 4

  • 1 1/3 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for topping
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp minced garlic, divided
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning, plus extra
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, plus extra
  • salt
  • red pepper flake
  • 3 – 4 string cheese sticks, each cut into fourths
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I prefer Chianti)
  • 1 cup jarred marinara sauce
  • 1, 15 oz can diced tomatoes (I use low sodium/fire roasted)
  • 1 tbsp chopped (or torn) fresh basil, plus additional as garnish
  • 1 tsp honey
  • chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine the turkey, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, 1 tsp garlic and measured spices, along with a pinch of salt and red pepper flake.  Mix well.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, scoop out enough of the meat mixture to fit in the palm of your hand once flattened to about 1/2 in thickness.  Place a string cheese chunk in the center of the meat.  Fold over the edges of the meat around the cheese trapping it in the center.  Roll the meat between two hands to form a ball and then place it on a lightly greased cooking sheet.  Repeat until meat mixture is used up.  You should be able to make 12 – 16 meatballs.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes, turning once.
  5. Meanwhile, in a enamel coated cast iron skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes until glistening.  Add the mushrooms and the remaining minced garlic and continue to cook over medium heat until mushrooms begin to soften.  Add a dash of salt and pepper as well as a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and red pepper flake.  De-glaze the pan with the red wine and allow to cook down until most of the wine has evaporated.  Add the prepared sauce as well as the can of diced tomatoes and the chopped basil.  Add a tsp of honey, stir, taste and season as desired with additional salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer while meatballs cook.
  6. When the meatballs are done, add them to your sauce and allow it to continue to simmer for 15 – 20 more minutes, covered.
  7. Serve the meatballs with a generous ladle of sauce over pasta or seasoned zoodles.
  8. Garnish dish with additional parmesan, chopped parsley and/or chopped basil and Enjoy!!!

Suggestions:

You could sub ground beef or chicken for turkey when making the meatballs.  Instead of string cheese, try using a small mozzarella pearl!  

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