Mini Turkey Meatballs
- 1 small onion, grated
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground dark turkey meat
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 26 ounces Simple Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought marinara sauce
- Simple Tomato Sauce:
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 4 to 6 basil leaves
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional
Add the onion, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmesan, Pecorino, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a large plate or baking sheet.
Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil. Add the marinara sauce, about 3 cups. Return all the meatballs to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, 15 to 20 minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Transfer the meatball mixture to a serving bowl. Serve with toothpicks.Simple Tomato Sauce:
In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.