On Thanksgiving and by long tradition, 15+ family and friends join us to eat an almost equivalent number of dishes. This means that on Thanksgiving Eve, things can get a bit nutty. I usually have various items scattered about in various stages of preparation, and it’s hard to think of what to make for dinner–or muster up much enthusiasm for cooking it on top of everything else. Enter one great husband, who this year chose and prepared a classic Italian dish far removed from the traditional Thanksgiving offerings: Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Except Spaghetti and Meatballs isn’t a classic Italian dish, since most Italians would never eat meatballs with pasta. In fact, we have Italian friends who would rather stab themselves with a fork than contemplate such a gastronomic travesty. But those friends weren’t at our house this evening, so we were free to enjoy what is for many Americans a match made in heaven–one made even more heavenly by the fact that I had no hand in preparing it on this night of all nights. These fresh-tasting meatballs are adapted from the timeless New York Times Cookbook, by Craig Claiborne.
Meatballs for Spaghetti
1.5 lb. ground turkey
1 c. dry breadcrumbs (seasoned breadcrumbs are nice)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp. half-and-half, or cream
4 tbsp. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
4 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon rind
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. spaghetti
1. Mix all the meatball ingredients and blend well. Shape into about 24 meatballs.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown meatballs, making sure not to crowd them (if necessary, cook in batches). Add sauce to skillet, and cook meatballs in sauce for about 15 minutes. (Or put sauce in a large saucepan, and add the meatballs to the sauce.)
3. Prepare spaghetti al dente, according to directions on package.
4. Serve meatballs with spaghetti and more Parmesan or Romano cheese.