Turkey Meatballs in a Tomato and Basil Sauce

For a nutritious, quick and easy family meal, you can’t beat meatballs.

They can be made using virtually any minced meat, and the flavour combinations are endless. You can easily whip up a batch of Asian-, Indian-, or Italian-inspired meatballs, depending on your mood and the contents of your pantry, and they freeze really well.

I recently made a big batch of beef and sausage meatballs (with sauce), and gave a meal to a friend for when her fourth baby arrived – and wouldn’t you know it, they never made it into her freezer, because that very same day, she gave birth to her third darling little girl! She said her older kids scoffed them down like there was no tomorrow….everyone loves meatballs!

These meatballs were a bit of an impromptu make; I’d bought turkey mince in the groceries, but hadn’t thought much about what I was going to do with it. Lucky for me, the pack had a web address on it and I was able to find and amend a recipe online, based on what I had to hand.

Tall isn’t the biggest fan of turkey, but he really enjoyed these little morsels – they were so juicy and not at all dry, and the combination of flavours was great.

Turkey Meatballs in a Tomato and Basil Sauce – serves 4

500g turkey mince
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c breadcrumbs (preferably fresh – mine were in the freezer and I just flaked them in still frozen)
2T fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1t fresh thyme leaves
1/2 carrot, finely grated
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1T olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g chopped tomatoes (either tinned or fresh)
1 1/2T tomato paste
50g black olives, sliced
1t sugar
salt & freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh basil leaves, torn or left whole

Combine first eight ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Season well.

Shape into even-size meatballs and place, covered, in the fridge to “set” for 10-30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, over a medium heat.

Add meatballs and brown slowly on all sides; remove from the pan and set aside.

To the same pan, add the remaining six ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. You may want to add some water if your sauce is too dry.

Add the meatballs back to the pan and cover; simmer gently for a further 10-20 minutes.

Add the basil leaves and stir; serve over cooked pasta.

(Photo from http://www.tegel.co.nz as I was too slack to take my own!)

~~~~~~~~~
Original recipe from Tegel pinned here

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