Spicy Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti


Summer is drawing to a close and I still have a backlog of fruit crisps, black russian kales and catfish delights to post about. Even though I’ve been out of school for a very long time, I can always feel this time of year a certain note of melancholy in the air, the sun making its rays more solemn, the crispness in the rustling of leaves, a purposeful, bittersweet sign that one era is dying down as the next one emerges.

All that as a fancy way of saying that I’m really glad figs are in season. O how I love thee, fig!

This is my favorite way to have figs — straight up and whole. No recipe required.

But this post isn’t really about figs.

It’s about spaghetti and meatballs.

Which somehow seems appropriately school-year staple, because of that On Top of Spaghetti song.

I’m reminding myself of that meme that says “If I had a dollar every time I got distracted I wish I had some ice cream.”

When the girls and I were up north, my brother and my sister-in-law welcomed us with this tasty Barefoot Contessa rendition of the spaghetti and meatball classic.

Here are my brother, sister-in-law and the girls wishing I would stop taking pictures so that they can eat.

My sister-in-law is about to go into labor any day now, and today is Labor Day so it seems like it should happen today. I haven’t heard anything yet though.

These meatballs are special. They’re made with turkey, sausage, prosciutto and Asagio cheese, and Ina Garten says that they’re the best meatballs she’s ever had!  I think Ina knows a thing or two about meatballs.

I didn’t cook them, so I’m just going to share the recipe at the end. It was a great week for me where I consumed an extraordinary quantity of delicious food without having to prepare it. During the day, the kids and I went on excursions like taking a cruise out to Alcatraz Island:

Visiting the iconic Ferry Building:

and buying owl hats:

Because you never know when might need an owl hat.

Evenings were spent in the newly redone back yard:

Swinging in hammocks (my brother made the green chair — nice, right?):

Enjoying the fireplace:

and dining al fresco amidst the juniper trees:

‘Twas an idyllic late summer getaway…thanks for hosting us, M&A!

Now, for the recipe:


From Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?  by Ina Garten


  • 3 cups (1-inch diced) bread cubes from a round rustic bread, crusts removed
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (85%-92% lean)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed
  • 4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated aged Asagio cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 TBSP good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the meatballs
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 24-oz jars good marinara sauce, such as Rao’s
  • 2 pounds dried spaghetti, such as De Cecco
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the bread is in medium crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and add the milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

in a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, prosciutto, bread mixture, Asiago, parsley, oregano, red pepper blakes, 1 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp pepper. Lightly combine the ingredients with your hands. Add the 3 TBSP olive oil and the eggs and stir lightly with a fork to continue.

With your hands, lightly roll the mixture into 2-inch round meatballs and place them on the prepared sheet pans. Brush the meatballs with olive oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.

Pour the marinara sauce in a large, low pot, add the meatballs and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the directions on the package. Drain and place the spaghetti in individual bowls, and top with 3 meatballs and lots of sauce. Serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.

Serves 8.


  • Patricia
    September 3, 2012 - 9:16 PM | Permalink

    I missed out on the trip to the Ferry Building, so Nate surprised me with some Boccalone salami and Cowgirl cheese. True love. Our relationship is so past flowers and jewelry.

    • September 3, 2012 - 9:39 PM | Permalink

      That is SO much better than flowers and jewelry! What’s more romantic than salami and cheese?!?

  • September 4, 2012 - 8:52 AM | Permalink

    Great post! Loved all the photos, especially yall in your owl hats, and your daughter biting into that corn cob 🙂 The spaghetti and meatballs sound amazing! I’m really looking forward to the comfort-food time of year.

    • September 4, 2012 - 11:41 AM | Permalink

      Thanks Sophie! I’m looking forward to comfort-food time too…it’s been hard to find an opportunity to wear owl hats in the 80-90 degree weather…or maybe in general for that matter!

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