Saturday, December 29, 2012

Caprese pasta with turkey meatballs

I hope everyone is recuperating from the holidays! We are still working through all our leftovers and cookie platters. My kids are still in that post-Christmas honeymoon stage, waking up early and staying up late to play with their new toys. I'm just trying to decide if it's silly of us to keep our Christmas decorations up year round. Not only do they make me happy, they are a pain to put away and I just don't have the drive to do it right now.
On to this delicious dish...I made a similiar dish several years ago, following a recipe from Giada. Of course we loved it and, of course, I lost the recipe. So I created my own. For all I know it's exactly the same, but I'm pretty sure there are so changes. I think she used ground chicken, which is great if that's what you want to use, but I happened to have ground turkey.
This dish is amazing. The meatballs are bite size and loaded with flavor. The tomatoes are warm and burst in your mouth. The cheese is melty and soft, gathering the flavors of the dish. You will impress your family with this dish. Promise.
Fry up your meatballs. You'll have to do this in batches.

See all those beautiful brown bits? You'll scrape those off with the chicken stock. They add a lot of flavor.

Letting the meatballs hang out for a bit.

You'll add the chicken stock to the pan and use this to cook through the meatballs and soften the tomatoes.

Here's a great how-to for cutting basil. Stack your basil on top of each other, roll in up, and chop. You'll end up with a beautiful pile of julienned basil, and it took less than a minute.

Adding everything together. Yes, I used two different pastas. I just happened to have half a box of each.

Caprese Pasta with Turkey Meatballs
by Girls in Aprons, inspired by Giada di Laurentiis
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 Italian bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 14-oz can chicken stock (about 2 cups)
10 oz grape tomatoes
1 lb pasta, preferably bowtie, penne, or rotini
Salt, for pasta water
1/2 lb (8 oz) mozzerella cheese, cubed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
Mix ground turkey, bread crumbs, dried basil, tomato paste, eggs, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, and Worchestershire sauce together. Form into small meatballs, about the size of a ping pong ball. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add meatballs, cooking in batches, browning the meatballs on all sides. Remove meatballs from pan and set aside. In the same pan, add chicken broth, using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits left over from the meatballs. Bring the broth to a simmer and add the tomatoes and return the meatballs to the pan.
While tomatoes simmer, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tsp salt. Cook pasta according to package directions.
When tomatoes are soft and the meatballs are cooked through, 7-8 minutes, remove from heat. Add the cooked pasta using a slotted spoon. Toss everything together. Transfer to a serving dish. Immediately add cubed mozzerella cheese and basil, stirring until the cheese starts to melt. Serve warm.

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