Know what I love? Meatballs. Know what I love even more than meatballs? Spaghetti and meatballs!
So I set out to make spag and balls (a phrase my very “New York” friend Phil taught me) one night. I started with a Best of Cooking Light Italian Favorites meatball recipe as inspiration…and I use the term inspiration because the only thing similar to the Cooking Light recipe and my meatballs was that they both are made of meat.
I’ll date this recipe when I say this, but it was the height of ramp-madness at the farmers markets when I made it. I had ramps…I had to use them…and I wasn’t going to make Spring Pad Thai or Spring Risotto…I was on a meatball kick! (Has anyone noticed by now that my dinner and cooking choices are driven, largely, by freak cravings that must be satisfied?) I also had a large bunch of cilantro that was intended for an herb salad I don’t think I ever got around to making. These ingredients had to be used or else my market buys were going to go bad.
I have to admit, not only was the recipe easy to pull together, but the meatballs were surprisingly juicy! And juicy for a few days…this made enough meatballs to feed me for lunch and dinner for at least half a week. That fact alone made me happy.
Sadly, I had to use a jar of pasta sauce to complete my meal. But not even like, Classico sauce (of which, I am a huge fan)…I had to use Ragu!! I didn’t have the makings for a basic tomato sauce, nor did I have a jar of Classico. It was a mistake that I make constantly…I think I have an ingredient and I don’t. Then I have to run out in the middle of cooking whatever it is I’m making to get it. So, there I was, running out to Rite Aid to get a jar of pasta sauce, mid-meatball.
Anyway. Whether you use Ragu or Classico or a can of tomatoes…these meatballs are delicious and have a zing! and a bite to them that most meatballs don’t. That would be the cilantro (Zing!) and ramps (bite!) talkin’. If you don’t have ramps in your area you could always substitute green onions or shallots instead of the usual white onion. Though, neither of these will have the bite (!) of a ramp.
Juicy Turkey Meatballs with Ramps and Cilantro
1lb ground turkey
5 ramps, sliced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2tsp salt or garlic salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pre-heat oven to 400F.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mash ’em all together with your hands. Yes, your hands. Get dirty. It’s not cooking if you’re not dirty.
Use a medium cookie scooper, or eyeball enough meat to make an inch-large meatball, and roll the mixture into meatballs. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes or until done.
While baking the meatballs, heat up your pasta sauce in a large pot. When the meatballs are done baking, transfer them into the pot of sauce. Simmer for another ten minutes or so…just to blend the flavors a bit.
Serve over spaghetti or whatever shape pasta you have on hand.