Meatballs, especially these Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Arugula Pesto Sauce are one meal I really enjoy. I love making meatballs as much as eating them and I tend to lean towards dark meat turkey, instead of light, because the slightly fatter meat keeps things softer and more tender.
Pesto can be made with any greens or herbs, but arugula makes a peppery pesto that is hard to resist. This deep leafy green is simple to grow and can tolerate the wetness of winter, but when spring arrives, it comes to life. I like to cut it when it’s small and delicate — the flavors are more mild that way. In the grocery store or farmer’s market, look for baby arugula to use in this pesto.
Pesto lightens in color with a splash of cream and makes life pretty tasty when tossed with juicy meatballs. I served this dish family-style out of the skillet and don’t skip the rustic bread for sopping up this luscious sauce.
4 cups fresh arugula
1/2 cup blanched almonds or pine nuts
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 clove garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
pinch of salt & pepper
1/ 3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 pound ground dark meat turkey
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
olive oil for cooking
(Makes about 16 Meatballs)
- In a food processor, add arugula, almonds, Parmesan and garlic. Pulse until coarse texture. While processor is running, add olive oil, salt and pepper. Pesto should have a slightly chunky texture and not too runny, set aside.
- In a large bowl, add all Meatball ingredients and mix with hands until incorporated. Let rest for 10 minutes in bowl.
- In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Roll meat into ping-pong size balls and place into pan. Brown all sides of meatballs, about 10 minutes.
- Dollop 2/3 of pesto into pan around meatballs. Add chicken broth and stir. Cook for 1 minute, then add cream. Stir while cooking, until slightly thickened and light in color, about 3 minutes. Swirl meatballs around pan in sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve with pasta, spaghetti squash or sauteed spinach. Enjoy!