This was one of those dishes thrown together for dinner one night. I’ve made the meatballs several times before and wanted to cook up all of the organic veggies I had in my fridge. It was so good (and healthy too), I had to share! This recipe for turkey meatballs, tagliatelle pasta, sun dried tomatoes and roasted vegetables can be made in a number of ways, just substitute your favorite roasted veggies and pasta. The beauty of this dish is that most of the components are cooked separately, and then combined at the end. What this does is keep the flavors from mixing, so every ingredient practically sings with flavor.
Yes, they sing. Trust me on this one.
Let’s talk pasta for a minute. I’m bordering on being called a “pasta collector”. On any given week, you’ll find a new bag or box in my pantry of some obscure Italian pasta in every shape you could imagine. I search out and find artisanal pasta made the old fashioned way, with bronze dies instead of a high-volume Teflon machine. The bronze dies create a rough surface on the pasta that the sauce will cling to.
It’s okay if you use the generic grocery store brand or something like Mueller’s or Barilla, but if you want really great food, look a little harder. It won’t cost much more and your taste buds will thank you. You can find great pasta at low prices in some surprising places.
These are my favorites:
- Look for an Italian import section in your local supermarket. My grocery store has an Italian corner in the freezer section and everything is on sale.
- Check discounts stores that have a home goods section. Marshalls, Home Goods and Big Lots are all great places to find gourmet pasta.
- Italian, Russian, Polish, etc. International specialty markets sometimes carry great gourmet pastas at ridiculously low prices.
- Trader Joe’s pasta has ranked high in taste tests. I don’t live near one, but if I did, I’d try it!
Now onto the recipe:
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- ¼ Parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper
- 1 large fennel bulb, quartered
- 2 zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ½ onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 8 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 pound taglietelle or your favorite pasta
- 1 large whole tomato, chopped
- handful basil leaves, chopped
- Parmesan cheese for serving
You can roast the vegetables and meatballs at the same time or prepare one the day ahead.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl (doing it with your clean hands works best). When everything is just mixed, roll the meatballs approximately golf ball sized and arrange them in one layer on a sheet pan.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked in the center. Keep warm.
Toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
In a large skillet, cook the onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper flakes and stir. Add the chicken broth, white wine and sun dried tomatoes. Cook and reduce over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half.
While the sauce is reducing, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the directions or until the pasta is just al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water for the sauce.
Taste and season the reduced liquid generously with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Add the pasta, tomatoes, vegetables and basil to the pan and stir. If you need more liquid, add some of the pasta water to the sauce. Serve topped with meatballs and grated Parmesan cheese.