Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs

Total Time:
1 hr 25 min
40 min
45 min

4 to 6 servings

  • Meatballs:
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup, optional
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground dark turkey meat
  • 1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to season
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, optional
Watch how to make this recipe.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  • For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, basil, parsley, milk, ketchup if using, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic and onions. Using a wooden spoon, stir to blend. Add the ground turkey and sausage meat. Using fingers, gently mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

  • Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop or a small ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (22 to 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy nonstick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through, 15 minutes.

  • For the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with 2-inch-high sides over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the basil, the fennel, oregano and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired.

  • Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs are heated through, about 10 minutes. Thin the sauce with chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed.

  • Serve with grated Parmesan alongside.

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