Spicy Turkey Meatballs

1 Aug

Hola friends. I realize I’ve been a very poor blogger this last month. Boo. Hiss. I know.

But the good news is I have a bunch of wonderful posts to share with you over the next few weeks to make up for the slllooowww posting in July.

Do you forgive me?

I hope so.

To make it up to you, I’m sharing a delectable meatball recipe from one of my favs from the Food Network – the Barefoot Contessa. The woman knows her stuff and you just KNOW her recipes will result in a happy stomach.

Backstory to why I decided to make these babies…a few weekends ago, a bunch of my girlfriends and I were celebrating a very good friend of mine – Andrea – at her bachelorette party. We did a fun-filled cabin weekend with the meals divyed up amongst the group. I volunteered to take on Saturday evening (which meant I was going to do as much prep as possible BEFORE Saturday…c’mon…it was a bachelorette party…prep was needed). The decision was to make it simple and tasty – spaghetti and meatballs, salad and garlic bread. I figured with the spaghetti, garlic bread and salad all needing very little prep (I cheated and bought a few pre-mixed bags from the store. I know what you’re thinking. Lazy. Yes I know. But SMART considering) the meatballs could be the star feature.

I searched through my cookbooks, blogs, magazine clippings. I couldn’t find the right meatball. I was getting frustrated. It was also about 8:00 PM the night before I was to depart for bachelorette party madness and I was recipe less. And grocery item less.

Until Ina.

Thank you Ina.

These are in her “How Easy Is That” cookbook and they’re keepers in my book. I modified her recipe a little bit on purpose and a little bit by accident:


  • 3 cups (1-inch diced) bread cubes crust removed (I kept the crust on because I felt like it. You can go crustless if you’re into that.)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk (Ina suggest whole milk but I just couldn’t do it and have the rest of the container leftover. I’m not into whole milk. Ish. I went 2%.)
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (85-percent to 92-percent lean <— Ina’s suggestion)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage (Ina recommends the sweet variety but I couldn’t find it, used normal stuff and it was still delicious.)
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated aged Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (I forgot to get this…oopie…so used dried parsley. It worked.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the meatballs
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

How to Make:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees first. Prep your sheet pans (with either Pam or parchment paper) second. Or reverse that. I won’t tell.

In the mixing process, your first task is to assist your bread into becoming crumbs.

Enter in the FOOD PROCESSOR. The crumb making machine.



Now take those lovely crumbs and put them and your milk into a small bowl. You’re going to let those two ingredients sit and become one for about 5 minutes. Sounds weird, but trust in Ina. She’s a smart cookie.

Now, in a different bowl that’s more in the ‘big’ category, time to mix up everything.

First, in goes the pork sausage…

Then the ground turkey…

…prosciutto (probably my favorite ingredient in these balls of meat)…

then the bread/milk concoction (after it set for its 5 minutes of course)…

 …Asiago cheese…

…parsley (fresh if you’re with it when you’re grocery shopping, unlike me)…


…red pepper flakes (the wonderful KICK part of the recipe)…

AND finally…1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.

Admire your lovely mountain of ingredients. Post admiration, mix everything up. I prefer to use my hands for these type of steps (vs. a fork or spatula) because I personally think it gets mixed more thoroughly. You really want the spices to be as evenly mixed as possible too – you’d hate to get one SUPER spicy meatball and one that’s bland. Not cool.

Once you feel like the whole mixture is lightly but thoroughly mixed together, add in the olive oil and the eggs. NOW you can use a fork or spatula to mix those wet ingredients in. Be gentle, but make sure it’s fully mixed. No skimping.

Now, time to make some balls. Ina recommends about 2-inch meatballs. She also suggests you brush the meatballs with olive oil prior to popping them into the oven. I forgot that step. Whoops. BUT you can still have tasty meatballs without it. Trust me!!

Bake these guys for 35 to 40 minutes or, as Ina puts it, “until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.”

Then serve these to a bunch of hungry, sunburned people. At least, that’s what I did.


3 Responses to “Spicy Turkey Meatballs”

  1. Andrea Wills August 2, 2012 at 7:27 AM #

    These were delicious!!

    • Betsy Vose August 2, 2012 at 11:14 PM #

      Even if they were a bit too spicy for your taste 😉 [Tip for others with more mild spice preferences, just put in less red pepper flakes. Still tasty!]


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