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When I got back from studying abroad in Italy, I had to avoid Italian food for a few months. Not only had I been practically living off of it for the past four months, but I also knew that having Italian food in the States right away after getting back would be a big disappointment. Italian food is just different in Italy, which makes sense since it obviously originated there. Now I can happily go out to an Italian restaurant and be satisfied, but my favorite thing to do is to cook Italian food at home. One of my favorite dishes to make, and a staple in my kitchen, is spaghetti and baked meatballs. I’ve made meatballs a handful of ways, but this way may be one of my favorites and I love using turkey! It’s especially important to be sure to pick a quality pasta sauce to pair with your dish. In my case, I used Francesco Rinaldi, a company that focused on quality ingredients.
Turkey Spinach & Mozzarella Meatballs
Meatballs would’ve been a recipe I’d have been intimidated by if you asked me to make them three years ago. Thankfully, getting married and my lack of a college meal plan, encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and learn to cook. I’ve mentioned it before with my recipes, but I love trying to make dishes I once would have thought to be difficult, but after making them realize how simple and delicious they can be!
Homemade meatballs can make a regular home cooked dinner seem like a special occasion. Usually, I’d love to make this dish and pair it with a lovely glass of red wine, but alas, that doesn’t seem to be in little Greyson’s diet these days. With or without the wine, making a home cooked Italian meal always make my evening.
I didn’t use to be very particular about my pasta sauces, but my expectations have changed after getting back from Italy. I don’t just buy whatever pasta sauce is cheapest or on sale, I really try to go with a brand that is truly focused on Italian authenticity. Francesco Rinaldi’s brand mantra is “Made By Italians” which says a lot about this pasta sauce.
There are two main ways I cook meatballs. One is on the stove in a frying pan and the other is in the oven. You can also combine these two methods by browning the meatballs in a pan and then baking them to cook the rest of the way through. This is my preferred method because the meatballs are super juicy afterwards, but cooking them on the stove gives them a great browned outside.
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup baby spinach, chopped
- ¼ mozzarella, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Combine all ingredients in bowl (by hand is sometimes best!)
- Heat olive oil in frying pan
- Form 1 inch meatballs and place in pan
- Brown on all sides and continue cooking through
- (Alternatively, brown on each side and move to baking dish. Bake on 350 for 10-15 minutes until cooked through)
- Serve over cooked spaghetti with Francesco Rinaldi pasta sauce
You can also brown meatballs and finish cooking by baking for 10-15 minutes at 350.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0g
To find Francesco Rinaldi’s pasta sauce, check your local Walmart!
For more recipes and inspiration, follow Francesco Rinaldi on their new Twitter handle, @FrancescoSauce.
My favorite part of this recipe is how many flavors are packed into each meatball. I love the addition of the spinach for the color that it gives the meatballs and the mozzarella added in gives the meatballs a melty finish. It’s perfect on top of a bed of your favorite pasta and sauce.