Pesto Meatballs

Back in January I posted the ultimate meatball recipe, Barefoot Contessa’s Spicy Turkey Meatballs. Barefoot Contessa’s recipe is extensive, making for a fun dish for two to prepare over the weekend. On the average weeknight, you’re not going to have the time, patience, and budget for Spicy Turkey Meatballs. Also, recently I’ve gone a little overboard with the pesto recipes. I should have been more creative with my recipe choice for the week, but I had to give this combination a try. Pesto Meatballs are a nice variation on classic meatballs, and are a much faster alternative to Spicy Turkey Meatballs. These were prepared on a Tuesday evening after a long day of teaching and I enjoyed them without pasta. They were filling and satisfying on their own. Switch things up with Pesto Meatballs!

2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup pesto sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs whites
2 onions diced
2 carrots chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic gloves minced
2 – 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Making the Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, mix everything in a bowl and combine well. Roll mixtures into balls. I use an ice cream scoop to make them all the same size. Place them on a cooling rack on top of a foil lined cookie sheet sprayed with a little cooking spray. Cook for 20 minutes.

Preparing the Sauce:
While the meatballs are cooking in the oven, saute the onions and carrots until tender, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and let simmer over low heat for about an hour. The sauce should thicken a bit. Add the meatballs to the sauce, and serve with your favorite pasta, or even on their own.

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