Monday, January 4, 2016

Amici's Meatballs

I have these meatballs (individually wrapped and frozen) in the freezer everyday of the year.  This recipe makes about 18 meatballs and we generally eat 2 or 3 each at each meal.  I keep them frozen (first in plastic wrap then in aluminum foil then put in a labeled ziplock bag) and take out how many we each want for a meal, generally thaw those overnight, and then just put them in a saucepan of marinara sauce (I have put frozen meatballs in sauce and just simmered at a low heat for great results) and spoon over cooked spaghetti and top with Parmesan, then serve with a Caesar salad.  Recipe originally posted on September 13, 2010.

Years ago, I worked at an Italian restaurant (Amici's) in Red Wing, MN.  The owner, Char, made the most wonderful meatballs and I was shocked, SHOCKED I say, to learn that she included raisins in her recipe.  I have to tell you, there are very few foods I just won't eat and raisins top the list.  I couldn't believe the difference they make.

Now Char used the traditional meat mixture of beef and pork to make her meatballs.  Just for kicks, I wanted to see if I could lighten them up.  Ground turkey breast is just about as lean as you can get with very little fat.  I had no idea how they would turn out without the added fat of beef and pork, but amazingly, I think these are even better.  I don't know if it's the raisins that provides the moistness, but, who cares?  I will never use another recipe.  These are fabulous.

These are fast and easy to prepare.  Just mix up the ingredients, roll them, and bake.  Since these are made with ground turkey breast, the meatballs will be a very light color (not the traditional brown when made with beef and pork), but don't worry because you're going to be adding them to your favorite red sauce so you'll never see the light color.  Oh, one more plus, these freeze and keep wonderfully for months.....just take out how many you want for dinner, let thaw for about an hour, add them to your warmed sauce, and serve them over spaghetti with a Caesar salad.  Dinner is served.

AMICI'S MEATBALLS (makes 18 meatballs)

20 oz ground turkey breast
2 eggs or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I use Panko)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup shaved/shredded Parmesan cheese
2-3 tsp minced garlic
handful of raisins
1/2 cup milk (whole, skim, whatever you have on hand works)
S&P to taste

Mix everything together until just combined.  I weigh my meatballs at 50 grams each (about 2" diameter) and cook at 350F for 18 minutes.

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