Have I mentioned how much I love The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook? If not, I really, really love it. One of my tests for a good cookbook is whether I feel confident that no matter which of its recipes I choose, the results will be delicious and I absolutely feel that way about this cookbook. I don’t own it but I had borrowed it from my library and loved browsing through. I had picked this recipe as one I wanted to try before the book was due. I am, however, a terrible procrastinator. I wound up keeping the book an extra day and paying the $.10 late fee just so I could make this recipe! Fortunately, it was worth it! These meatballs were perfect. Shane has already requested that I make them again soon so I know he was a fan! The bread/buttermilk paste keeps them extremely moist, which is especially important since I was making them with ground turkey, which can definitely dry out. The recipe can also be made with a combination of beef and pork.

Turkey Meatballs
from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

2 slices high quality white sandwich bread
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
vegetable oil
4 cups tomato sauce (recipe below)

Remove and discard the crusts from the slices of sandwich bread. Tear the slices of bread into small pieces and add to them a medium bowl along with the buttermilk. Using a fork, create a paste by mashing the bread and buttermilk together.

Add the ground turkey, cheese, parsley, yolk, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to the bowl with the buttermilk/bread paste. Stir gently until combined. Form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch round meatballs (about 14). Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (If you skip this step, the meatballs aren’t likely to hold their shape when cooked.)

Pour vegetable oil into a 12-inch skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate and discard the oil.

Place the skillet with any browned bits over medium heat and add the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and scrape up browned bits. Reduce heat to low and add meatballs. Continue to simmer, turning meatballs occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve with pasta.

Quick Tomato Sauce
from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Cook the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. (Be careful, the first time I did this, the garlic went from fragrant to burnt VERY quickly.) Stir in both cans of tomatoes along with their juices. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes.

Stir in basil and sugar. Season with salt to taste.

Makes 4 cups.

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