Cooking for a Crowd,  Dinner,  Italian,  Pasta,  Recipes

Sun-dried Tomato Meatballs

These meatballs are perfect for warmer weather – they come together quickly, totally different than my long-simmering in red wine version. The turkey keeps them light while the pancetta and sun-dried tomatoes give these meatballs such a special flavor. Best of all, this recipe is a huge hit with kids! My secret? My kids rebel against the “green stuff” in meatballs, aka parsley. My lightbulb moment – serving the parsley on the side! Score one for mom…

Sundried Tomato Meatballs

Sun-dried Tomato Meatballs
Author: Kate Wagner
Serves: 60 meatballs
This recipe falls into my category of “If I’m getting all these ingredients out I might as well make a lot”. I just love having an extra dinner in the fridge or freezer! I made these meatballs, in addition to a huge manicotti for a recent family birthday dinner and everyone loved them! My kids don’t like a lot of sauce, if your family does you might want to double the sauce. Of course, any extra sauce can go right into the fridge – another dinner ready to go. Happy cooking!
  • [b]Meatballs[/b]
  • 8 oz Pancetta, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8.5 oz jar Sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan-Romano cheese blend (you can also just use Parmesan)
  • 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 lb Ground turkey
  • [b]Sauce[/b]
  • 28 oz can Crushed tomatoes
  • 28 oz can Petite diced tomatoes
  • 6 tsp Minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Flat-leaf parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 450. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Heat pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Add onion and continue to cook until pancetta is crisp and the onion is translucent, 5-10 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl lightly beat the eggs, then add tomatoes, yogurt, cheese, breadcrumbs and Kosher salt. Stir to combine, then add the turkey and mix carefully with your hands. (see note)
  4. Form the turkey mixture into balls about 2 inches in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
  6. Once the meatballs go into the oven, you can get started on the sauce.
  7. In a large saucepan (remember you will be adding the meatballs into the sauce so you need enough room), heat the crushed and diced tomatoes over medium heat. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and Kosher salt. Simmer while meatballs are in the oven.
  8. Once the meatballs are cooked, add them to the sauce and continue to simmer for the flavors to combine, 10-15 minutes. NOT all of the meatballs are going into the saucepan. Depending on how tightly you want to pack them in – I usually have about 10 extra which I keep for the pickier eaters who do not want any sauce.
Why add the turkey last? You want to throughly mix the ingredients before adding the turkey because you want to treat your ground turkey with care – it keeps them from getting tough. That’s why I always add the turkey last and gently mix them with my hands – the same principle as when you make burgers.[br]Once you bake your meatballs you will never go back to frying them – when they come out of the oven you will see they rendered off the fat – making them so much healthier! I bake my ground beef meatballs the same way – I love to get rid of that additional fat.


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