Monday, May 7, 2012

Recipe | Spicy Turkey Meatballs | Ina Does it Again

Here I am, once again, worshipping at the alter that is Ina Garten.  Did you know she has a new book coming out next fall?  Do you have any idea how excited that makes me? Very.  Too bad it's not in time for Mother's Day.  I just hope a book tour accompanies the launch and that she has a signing within a 100 mile radius. If so, I'm there.  This recipe is from her most recent book, How Easy Is That, and she featured it on her TV program.  For the last 15 years I've made the same meatball recipe.  It was one of the first "dinners" I felt I mastered.  I remember making homemade meatballs and spaghetti for the first time in our tiny Boston kitchen and feeling rather impressed with my bad self. Over the years I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly to accommodate our growing family's preferences.    So when I saw this recipe I was hesitant to mess with a good thing, but then it's Ina, and she has never let me down yet {ok maybe once, but the track record is pretty remarkable}, so I gave it a try did.  Oh my goodness, I'm not sure if it is the combination of meats {sausage, turkey and prosciutto} or  the asiago instead of Parmesan, whatever it is, I think I might have replaced my old stand by.  And there were no complaints from my taste testers either.

Use good quality bread for the bread crumbs, no Wonder Bread you hear?

My Cusinart Mini Prep is one of my favorite kitchen tools.
Perfect for grinding cheese and breadcrumbs, or any small scale prep.

Use good quality sweet Italian sausage. I like Trader Joe's. 
I find Fresh Market's and Whole Foods' have too strong of an anise flavor.

I use my hands to combine the ingredients and just use a fork at the very end.

I used a store bought sauce to save time. But making your own is easy and better.
I have about three different tomato sauce recipes I use.  One day I'll share those too.
This one is really good, I use two jars per one pound of pasta.
I let it simmer on low for a long time {about 45 min}

Hellllllooooo, lover.
Pasta is a close second behind chocolate in my favorite foods line up.
Just looking at this is making me soooo hungry.



  • 3 cups (1-inch diced) bread cubes from a round rustic bread, crusts removed
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (85-percent to 92-percent lean)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated aged Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 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
  • 3 (24-ounce) jars good marinara sauce, such as Rao's
  • 2 pounds dried spaghetti, such as De Cecco
  • Freshly grated Parmesan (or Asiago) cheese, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the bread is in medium crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and add the milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, prosciutto, bread mixture, Asiago, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Lightly combine the ingredients with your hands. Add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the eggs, and stir lightly with a fork to combine.
With your hands, lightly roll the mixture into 2-inch-round meatballs and place them on the prepared sheet pans. Brush the meatballs with olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.
Pour the marinara sauce in a large, low pot, add the meatballs, and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the directions on the package. Drain and place the spaghetti in individual bowls, and top with 3 meatballs and lots of sauce. Serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.
* my recipe notes*
I cut this recipe in HALF and still had enough for left overs the next day
I've made them with and without prosciutto {when I've forgotten to buy it} and they are equally delish.  
Click Here For Printable Recipe


  1. I adore Ina as well and I've never been disappointed with any of them. If I have any complaint, it would be the expensive seafood that she used in some of the recipes -- sigh -- it's hard to find on the prairie!

    I've not tried this recipe yet but I may have to soon -- it looks yummy!

  2. Yummy! Thanks for the heads up on the anise flavor in the Fresh Market meats. But, we have no Trader Joes around here for well over a hundred miles.
    What is Ina's next book to be about?

  3. I have that recipe book. I always make turkey meatballs w/ my sauce but is it spicy?? My little girl will not eat anything spicy.

  4. I've never heard of prosciutto in meatballs before, but I love Ina and I love prosciutto! I'll have to give it a try. I could not live without my mini prep food processor either. I'm a new reader here, excited to follow along :)

  5. I keep waiting for Ina to do a nearby book signing.

    I have not tried the meatballs, but they do look yummy.

  6. I use an older recipe of Ina's for my meatballs. I'll have to try this version. She is my favorite!

  7. I made these just the other day and thought they were just perfect! Totally agree with you on Ina Garten rarely dissapointing! :)Rachel

  8. So glad to meet another Ina-ophile. She is my favorite - in the recipe department and the kitchen decor department. Have already pre-ordered her book and can't wait for its arrival. Thanks for the post.

    b (at kitchensihaveloved)

  9. Another long-time Ina fan here as well! You must try out her Italian Wedding Soup recipe, which contains the most delicious baked chicken meatballs, if you haven't already. I've made it time and time again, and it never disappoints.

  10. MMM LOVELY PICS:) I really like your blog and I want to follow, do you have twitter or FB??

    If you want some swedish decor inspiration, you can check out my blog:)
    Have a great week.

    LOVE Maria at

  11. That looks amazing! I'd be hard-pressed to choose between pasta and chocolate as well, but those meatballs might just push me over the edge! I found your blog via Holly Mathis' site and just wanted to say hi and I'm a new follower! :)

  12. Yum! Made your sun-dried tomato pesto over the weekend for house guests and it was fantastic. I was pretty sure my dad wouldn't like it since he is a meat and potatoes guy, but he raved about it! I was so surprised since he is not usually a pasta lover, but he loved it on cheese tortellini.

  13. Looks delicious! I like that Ina's recipe doesn't require the meatballs to be browned first-- just right into the oven. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
    I'm your newest follower. You have such a nice blog!

  14. Okay- I made these last night. I am not a meatball lover at all. I actually don't even like marinara so much and when I was little, I would eat pasta with butter and salt (I still love it that way).
    This was SO good! I absolutely loved it. Printed it out and it has earned a spot in my recipe box. In fact, I've got a bowl sitting in front of me right now for lunch.
    I tweeted a link to this blog post last night and raved about the recipe- I got replies saying they too love Ina's meatballs. I've been in the dark!
    I used one jar of Rao's and one jar of Dave's Gourmet (organic). Todd ate two bowls! Love when he has seconds!

  15. Gosh!
    We really love the way you shot Spicy Turkey Meatballs
    You are really not just a food blogger, we think that you are a professional food photographer.

    As a food photography site, we're always looking for best food pictures to feature on our site

    Why don't you submit yours and make other people hungry.
    You know it’s fun to make others hungry. Especially when they are so hungry they finally want to create your recipe. :)
    It is worth the try. :)

  16. Spaghetti with meatballs is really a very delicious dish. What is good about this is it is also very easy to make. Thank you for sharing this recipe. We are having a simple celebration in a few days and I guess this is will be perfect to be included in the menu. I am also excited to try out turkey meatballs. Again, thank you so much!