Welcome to the very first recipe I’m posting from Ina Garten’s upcoming new cookbook, How Easy Is That? !  Be sure you check back in the next 2 weeks for two more very new and very fabulous Ina recipes in anticipation of my interview with her on August 19th (new date).

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So the verdict on these Spicy Turkey Meatballs?  We’re still raving about them now over a week since we made them.  Hands down, we loved them and Kyle (the one who worked as a cook at an Italian restaurant) said with full conviction that these were the best meatballs he’s ever had.  And to reveal something else, we made them will all ground turkey and without any ground pork.  To make up for the loss of the traditional ground pork flavor, I added about 1/4 teaspoon ground fennel and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed.  This always seems to do the trick when trying to make the gobble taste like an oink.  The original recipe is below and if you’re wondering, yes, I have permission to post it.

We couldn’t have been happier with our first choice from How Easy Is That? and I’m thrilled to dig into the next one! My sincere thanks goes out to Ina and her cookbook publicist, Carrie Bachman for extending the opportunity to me to test run this book.  I hope to do these recipes justice!

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Spicy Turkey Meatballs
source: Ina Garten, How Easy Is That?

3 cups (1-inch diced) bread cubes from a round rustic bread, crusts removed
2/3 cup whole milk
2 lbs ground turkey (88% – 92% lean)
1/2 lb sweet Italian pork sausage, casing removed
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp good olive oil plus, extra for brushing meatballs
2 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
3 (24-oz) jars good marinara sauce, such as Rao’s
2 lbs dried spaghetti, such as De Cecco
Freshly grated Parmesan 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 35-40 minutes until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.

Pour the marinara into 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.

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