Confession: I’m not a traditional beef meatballs with marinara sauce kind of gal. I seriously dislike the dish. It doesn’t even look appealing most of the time and the meatballs tend to be dry as a cardboard. I guess a lot of it has a lot to do with what I ate as a child. My mom never made spaghetti and meatballs. I am not a big fan of the marinara sauce dishes. I don’t even like spaghetti. What I do like is creamy sauces especially homemade ones.
Meatballs in creamy mushroom sauce are a whole different game. I used ground turkey seasoned with garlic, fresh herbs, Panko soaked in a little milk and some good old fashioned salt and pepper. I seared the meatballs first to seal the flavor and the juices and then simmered them in a mushroom gravy. The meatballs came out moist, tender and seriously delicious. It was a HUGE hit with the entire family. Briana licked her plate clean and Kurt asked for the leftovers for lunch.
But no cream of mushroom soup is allowed here. Yuck, that stuff is not even real food. Anything that has modified anything or MSG in the ingredients is off limits. And don’t even get me started on the flavor. Nasty.
Turkey tends to stick to your hands a lot more than regular beef. Don’t stress about making your meatballs perfectly round and don’t overdo on the Panko.
- 1 lb ground turkey
- ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt, plus more
- ½ tsp black pepper, plus more
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
- ½ leek, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ⅔ cup fat free half & half
- 1 lb pasta, such as macaroni or rotini
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a small bowl combine Panko and milk. Let sit for a few minutes until the milk absorbs.
- Add ground turkey meat, egg, pecorino romano cheese, parsley, 1 tsp salt & ½ tsp pepper. Mix well.
- Preheat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Form meat balls and cook until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes each. Turkey meat tends to be sticky, don't worry about meatballs being perfectly round.
- Set the meatballs aside.
- In a large skillet saute mushrooms and leeks in another 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season with some salt and pepper. Stir in flour and cook another 2 minutes.
- Add chicken stock, bring to a simmer and add meatballs.
- Simmer the meatballs for 15 minutes. Check for salt and add half and half.
- Stir the meatballs and pasta together.
- Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.