Angel Hair Pasta with Turkey Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

You would not believe it, but I have been trying to write a post for about a week now. Obviously, nothing has gone up, so you’ll have to take my word for it, but it has been a crazy week. More crazy than you could adequately shake a rolling pin at. I’m going to leave the descriptions at that and let your mind work at finding a comparable parallel within your own world.

But yes, I haven’t posted. And I will eventually post that post (postypostyposty…) because it features the oh-so-awesome Amber! Eventually, it will go up. But this will have to suffice for now.

From the title, you’d probably guess that I got the idea for this ensemble from the Giada cookbooks I got from the library, and you’d guess right – though she mostly helped me flesh out my initial idea of sketti. I was just going to putz around and see what I could figure out, but I decided to be smart about it (since I was making it for company) and have a guide for the sauce.

Initially I thought wtf about the whole carrots-in-the-sauce thing. Seems a little odd… But it works quite nicely. It lends the sauce a bit more body and substantiality without messing with the flavor. You just have to make sure the bits are chopped small enough to really soften, because if they’re not completely soft they’re a little odd to bite into kinda randomly.

Angel Hair Pasta with Turkey Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 32oz. cans crushed or diced tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves (I used basil because I still haven’t stocked up on bay leaves ><)

In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. Sauté until all vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Turkey Meatballs

1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb ground turkey, preferably dark meat
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder, cayenne, or other spices (optional)

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. (I added cayenne after I cooked a few and noticed that they were a little on the bland side.) Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape the meat mixture in to bite-size balls. (I found that a small cookie scoop worked nicely for the sizing – just cut them in half for more bite-size pieces, or leave them large for a more chunky look.)

In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving or turning the meatballs until brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown.

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Somewhere in the middle of all this, start the pasta. I chose angel hair because I love it, but any long noodle will work. I’ve been reading various books, and I keep coming across the concept that the saltiness of the noodle water should be pretty oceanic, so I decided to add quite a bit more than I usually do. OH MY GOD~! I can eat the noodles alone cold and it’s amazing. Just the right amount of salt to make it a nice interesting taste without being overwhelming. Really. Salt the crap out of the water. It’s worth it.

Anyway, time the noodles to where they should be coming out of the water around when the second or third batch of meatballs is done. The whole recipe is said to make 3 dozen… and that’s about right. It takes a while to cook them all. I did a few batches, ate, then cooked the rest and put away.

Assemble pretty pretty sketti. Eat. Eat more. Burst. Repeat process.

Pictures will come when I feel like getting the memory card out of the camera and making them look more yummies.

Also, I made some foccacia bread to go with this, but I’ll have to post that later.

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