Turkey Meatballs

4 servings
You might think that there’s no way that turkey meatballs could taste anywhere near as good as the old-fashioned beef kind. I’m here to tell you that they not only taste great, they’re lighter and leaner, too!
2 slices whole wheat bread, crusts removed
⅓ cup buttermilk (see Note)
1 medium yellow onion, minced
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper (about ½ medium pepper)
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for sprinkling if desired
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds ground turkey, preferably dark meat
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Fresh Tomato Sauce (recipe follows) or your favorite tomato sauce
1 pound whole wheat pasta
1. Place the bread and buttermilk in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Then mash the bread with a fork to form a paste.
2. In a large bowl, combine the onion, red bell pepper, Parmesan, garlic, ketchup, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Add the bread mixture and stir to combine. Add the turkey and mix gently but thoroughly to combine. Shape into meatballs, about 2 tablespoons each, and refrigerate briefly to firm up, about 15 minutes.
3. Set a multi-cooker to the “white rice” program. When it is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the turkey meatballs until they are golden brown on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Add the tomato sauce, close the lid, and cook for 35 to 40 minutes.
4. While the meatballs are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions.
5. Serve the meatballs and sauce ladled over the pasta, garnished with extra Parmesan if desired.
NOTE: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar to 1 cup whole milk. Stir to blend and then set aside until thickened and creamy, usually about 5 minutes.
Fresh Tomato Sauce 1 quart
Make this simple multipurpose tomato sauce when tomatoes are in season and freeze it to preserve a taste of summer.
½ cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup vermouth or dry white wine
3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Set a multi-cooker to the “white rice” program and add the olive oil. When it is hot, add the onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and has begun to caramelize, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the vermouth and cook until it is reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, basil, oregano, and thyme. Close the lid and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook until the tomatoes have melted into the sauce and it has thickened slightly, about 1 hour.
2. Remove the bay leaf, mix in the heavy cream and Parmesan, and turn off the multi-cooker. The sauce can be left slightly chunky or it can be pureed in a blender until smooth. The sauce can be used immediately, refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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