July 1, 2009

lessons in speed cooking: spaghetti and turkey meatballs

My sister is getting married on Saturday, my dress is an unmitigated disaster and we have family in from out of town. Yikes!

What do you serve guests when your stress levels are off the charts and you have no time to grocery shop or cook? At my house there is only one possible answer to that question: pasta ... and copious amounts of wine.

My style of cooking generally involves simple uncomplicated food but this particular meal set a speed record, even for me, and took less than 30 minutes start to finish.

I threw these meatballs together using ground turkey, a handful of bread crumbs, an egg, parsley and a bit of milk. I couldn't even be bothered to saute them - I just set them out on a baking sheet with a film of olive oil and rammed them into the oven. That's when I finished my first glass of wine.

When they were golden brown I pulled them out and unceremoniously dumped them into a tomato sauce that I started when I put the meatballs in the oven. That simmered while the pasta cooked and I started on my second glass of wine.

I knew that I had officially lost it when I tried to convince everyone that this one looked like a sad dinosaur. Maybe that third glass of wine wasn't such a great idea? Oh well, I redeemed myself with the pasta - it was delicious!

For more pasta inspiration, head on over to Daily Unadventures in Cooking on Friday where Katerina will be hosting this week's Presto Pasta Night from Vancouver.

spaghetti with turkey meatballs
serves 4 - 6

turkey meatballs:

500gr ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Lightly beat egg with milk, add breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. add ground turkey and mix gently by hand, until just combined.

Take approximately 2 tbsp of mixture (the size of a golf ball) and roll gently between your palms to form a ball. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat with remainder of meat mixture.

Bake in 350°F oven until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. Don't worry if the meatballs are not completely cooked through as they will finish cooking in the sauce.

tomato sauce:

500ml (2 cups) canned tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat, add garlic and saute briefly until fragrant (approximately 1 minute). Add tomatoes and simmer, salt to taste.

Add meatballs to simmering sauce and continue to cook until meatballs are fully cooked through (approximately 5 - 10 minutes - do not allow sauce to go above a bare simmer or the meatballs will be tough). Serve over spaghetti or your favourite pasta.


  1. Looks yum! I totally see the sad dinosaur and I haven't even been drinking. Thanks for playing!

  2. I see the mopey old dinosaur as well! Make sure to take lots of photos of you in your disaster dress and we'll celebrate with margaritas when it is all over!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement guys!

    I don't even want to think about the dress - I will need to have more than a few cocktails before I can bring myself to wear it in public. An evening of margaritas will definitely be in order to help me get over the humiliation.

  4. Hey, I wouldn't care how long it take you to whip up the meal, as long as it is good. :)

  5. MmMmM turkey meatballs over pasta... it is always a great deal!

  6. Who DOESN'T love spaghetti and meatballs? I always bake my meatballs and I also always use turkey. They are really good with sun-dried tomato in them as well.

  7. oh, thanks for the recipe! I do entertaining a lot too, and it's nice to have a delish and speedy recipe at hand!

  8. Thanks to all for the encouragement and compliments. I survived the wedding despite the dress (my sister looked absolutely lovely) and our American guests left today (so sad to see them go).

  9. That's one of my favorite things to eat! Love the meatballs, I'll sometimes save a few for a meatball sammy the next day!