My boyfriend and I love our pasta! Of course he can eat more the me but it is a meal we always enjoy. He likes his Italian sausage and I’m not really a fan of it. I mean 1 sausage link is almost 300 calories! I can eat a lot more food compared to 1 sausage link. I had lean ground turkey breast in the freezer and decided I will enjoy my baked pasta with turkey meatballs. For my boyfriend’s dish I was inspired by this recipe from The Foodie and The Family, Farfalle with Spicy Sausage and Spinach. I ended up using mostacholi shaped pasta, my homemade red sauce and nixing the heavy cream. I topped his pasta dish with 2 slices of mozzarella and 2 slices of provolone. He was able to enjoy his dish with Italian sausage and I ended up enjoying my dish with turkey meatballs.
The cooked sausage with the spinach tossed in.
I used a cast iron skillet to bake his pasta, it was perfect!!
I’ve made turkey meatballs and shared them on the blog before but I’ve never shared this recipe for turkey meatballs. Back when I was counting calories religiously, this was a recipe I enjoyed because it was a big meal that clocked in around 300 calories, and allowed you to have 2 meatballs and 1 1/3 cups of pasta and sauce. When I mentioned turkey meatballs to my boyfriend he gave me that “look.” Turkey is known to be dry and rather tasteless but I kept telling him this recipe is great! It produces super moist turkey and the flavor is delicious. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly but I used some different ingredients and used my food processor to finely grate my carrots, onion and garlic. Who really measures exactly when cooking?? The more vegetables the better, IMO!
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
1 pound ground lean turkey breast
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (whole wheat is a nice substitute)
3 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, julienned
1 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a food processor, add 2-3 handfuls of baby carrots and pulse till broken down. Then add in chunks of half an onion and the garlic cloves. Pulse until combined but not pureed. This releases all the juices and makes for an extra moist meatball.
Combine the turkey with all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Form into 2 1/2- inch balls and place on the baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes. Flip over and cook for another 7 minutes or until browned and cooked thoroughly. Remove from oven and let cool. Continue to leave the oven on to finish baking up the pasta dish.
Makes a great meatball sandwich or as a pita pizza topping!
To make baked pasta with turkey meatballs
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta till tender but still firm. It will continue to cook in the oven or else you will end up with mushy pasta. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add tomato sauce, handful of spinach and 2 chopped up meatballs. Mix till combined and add to a baking dish. Top with cheese and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes. (This is the pasta I also baked up for my boyfriend’s dish, I used 3/4 a box of pasta.)
I used about 1 cup of pasta as a single serving for myself. I ended up making 2 meals out of this for myself! I used fontina cheese on top of my dish. I love this cheese when it melts, very nutty and creamy. The only default was we were sweating while eating this meal, I guess it’s going to start to get too hot for baked pasta dishes! Oh and my boyfriend tried a meatball from me and said not bad. ;)