Turkey Meatballs

Everyone loves a good bowl of spaghetti and meatballs to cozy up with. These meatballs are no exception and slightly healthy-ish as they are baked in the oven.

Photographer: Helen Cathcart for An American Girl in London

Serves 6-8


3 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp chili flakes

2/3 cup pancetta, diced

2 lb turkey mince

¼ cup sundried tomatoes pack in oil, finely chopped

½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped plus extra leaves to serve

½ cup basil leaves, finely chopped

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup pecorino, grated plus extra to serve

1 small white onion, peeled and quartered

2 (28oz) cans of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes

Small bunch fresh basil leaves, torn

500g spaghetti

Kosher Salt and Ground black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper.

2. In a large fry pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sliced onion. Cook for 20 minutes until beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and chili flake, cooking for a minute or so until fragrant. Tip into a small bowl and set aside to cool.

3. In the same pan, add the pancetta pieces and cook for 6-8 minutes until golden, remove and drain on paper towel, set aside to cool.

4. In a large bowl, combine the turkey mince, cooled onion and pancetta mixture, sun-dried tomato, parsley, basil, breadcrumbs, egg and pecorino. Using your hands, mix everything together until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Using slightly wet hands, take golf ball sized portions of the mix and roll into balls. Place 1 inch apart on the baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Remove and set aside.

6. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large pan. Add the quartered onion and reduce the heat to low-medium. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the tomatoes and crush lightly with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the cooked meatballs to the saucepan and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

7. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to pack instructions. Drain well. Serve topped with the meatballs and tomato sauce. Garnish with remaining parsley and a good grating of cheese.