Mild eaters beware! This healthy spin on spaghetti and meatballs comes from acclaimed chef, Food Network star and pepper-enthusiast, Bobby Flay. For those who can take the heat, however, the whole-wheat pasta, turkey meatballs and fresh ingredients make this dish a perfect dinner for the whole family.
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb ground white meat turkey
4-6 tbsp dried bread crumbs
2 tbsp pure olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/8-1/4 tsp red chile flakes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 (28 oz) cans plum tomatoes and their juice, pureed in blender
1 small Cubano pepper (or Cubanelle, banana pepper)
8 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano
Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish
1. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, about one and a half minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk together the eggs, three tablespoons cold water, sautéed garlic, parsley, cheese and salt and pepper in a large bowl until combined. Add the ground turkey and gently mix together until combined. Begin adding bread crumbs a few tablespoon at a time until the mixture just holds together.
2. Cover the meatball mixture and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to eight hours. The longer you let it sit, the more the flavor develops. Form the meat into 1 1/2-inch balls. Heat the remaining one cup of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the meatballs and fry until golden brown on all sides. Carefully remove to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
3. To begin the sauce, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chile flakes and cook for one minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and a half cup of water. Make a slit in the side of the Cubano pepper with a paring knife and add it and the parsley sprigs to the sauce, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.
4. Add the meatballs, reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the meatballs have cooked through and the sauce has thickened more, about 15 minutes longer.
5. Add some of the sauce to a large sauté pan, add the spaghetti and toss to coat in the sauce. Place the spaghetti on a platter, top with the meatballs (using a slotted spoon). Stir the chopped basil into the remaining tomato sauce and ladle some of the sauce over the spaghetti and meatballs. Grate parmesan cheese over the top and garnish with fresh basil sprigs.
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