Friday, June 12, 2015

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Pesto Pasta

I need to talk to you guys about these meatballs, on account of they are out of this world!

I don't have a very long history of meatballs here on Gas Stove Girl (but these Greek meatballs and mozzarella stuffed ones are glorious), but these Turkey Zucchini Meatballs will be a regular in our dinner rotation. They are light yet perfectly filling and chock full of good flavor.

Unlike most turkey meatballs you've had before, these meatballs are JUICY, not dried out and dull. The secret, as you may have guessed, is shredded zucchini. The zucchini is the perfect complement to lean ground turkey, whole wheat breadcrumbs, crushed garlic, grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley. I cook these in my cast iron skillet, as this gives the meatballs the perfect golden brown crust. They are finished in the oven until juicy meatball perfection is achieved. Doesn't this golden brown sear make your mouth water?!


These are a perfect summer appetizer - I'd serve them with a cool greek yogurt dipping sauce - but last night, Cory and I enjoyed these with whole wheat pasta tossed with fresh made pesto. We both devoured our dinner, and I suspect I'll get a request to make this dish again sometime soon!

Here's what you need for Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Pesto Pasta (Print Recipe!)

1 pound ground turkey
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 egg
1/2 cup whole wheat or panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 glove garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound whole wheat pasta
1 cup fresh basil, washed and stems removed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 glove garlic, chopped
up to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Here's what you do

In a large bowl, combined the turkey, zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently until just combined - do not overmix or your meatballs will be tough. Roll the meat mixture into 1 tablespoon size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop in the freezer for 15 minutes, as this will help keep the mixture together. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees,

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Grease with vegetable oil. Once hot, add the meatballs and cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side until golden brown. Carefully transfer the skillet from the stove top to the oven and bake for 10 minutes until cooked through.

While the meatballs are finishing, cook pasta according to package instructions, Also prepare the pesto. Place the basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped, With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Drained the pasta but do not rinse. Return pasta to the pot and toss with a few big spoonfuls of the pesto.

Divide pasta between four plates, then top with 3 or 4 meatballs. Top with more pesto sauce and grated cheese, as desired.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

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