Zak’s sis, Abbie, sent him the link to this recipe, which he immediately forwarded to me because he loved the sound of it so much. I’m really, really glad she sent us this because it is going to be my go-to pasta dish from now on. It has all of the delicious decadence of a classic spaghetti and meatballs, revved up a notch thanks to the spice of the sriracha, but is very healthy – turkey rather than ground beef or pork, spinach taking up some of the bulk of the meatballs, the meatballs broiled rather than fried, and a healthy serving of vegetables. I was nervous that the meatballs would dry out due to the turkey and spinach, but these were moist and bursting with flavor. I especially loved this recipe because broiling the meatballs not only significantly cut down on the fat content, but also cut down on the hands on time for the dish. I really amped up the sriracha content in this recipe from the original, and it was lip-tingling, sniffling spicy. Which is just the way we like it around here. If you like spicy and you like spaghetti and meatballs, you should make this sooner rather than later. It’s fantastic. Thanks, Abbie!
Sriracha Marinara with Meatballs
Adapted from Serious Eats
1/2 lb. ground turkey
5 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed with excess moisture removed (using cheesecloth or paper towels)
1 tbs. Japanese-style panko bread crumbs
1 tbs. Italian bread crumbs
1 egg white
1/2 tsp. dried marjarom
1/2 tsp. dried sweet basil
1 tbs. sriracha (I used the chili garlic version)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Non-stick cooking spray
In a medium mixing bowl, combine meat, spinach, panko, egg white, oregano, sriracha, marjoram, sweet basil, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Combing thoroughly, using your hands. Roll into 10-15 1″ meatballs (I made 11, with one giant one).
Spray a medium baking rack atop a slightly larger baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange meatballs on baking rack and spray thoroughly with non-stick.
Place meatballs in broiler and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Turn once roughly halfway through to ensure even cooking. Set aside.
1 tsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
3 tbs. sriracha sauce (I used the chili garlic version)
1 tbs. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried sweet basil
1/2 lb. whole wheat thin spaghetti
1/4 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan-Regano, finely grated
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta until al dente, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium stock pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and carrot and cook until onion is translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, another 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, sriracha. marjoram, and sweet basil. Bring to a slow simmer. Simmer 1 hour to allow flavors to meld. [Note: I’m sure this dish would be delicious with less simmering time. I’m a big believer in more is more when it comes to stove top time for tomato-based pasta sauces, however.]
Add meatballs to simmering sauce. Continue simmering until meatballs are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
Add spaghetti to sauce and toss to combine. If necessary, add reserved pasta water to create a looser sauce. Serve sprinkled with parsley and cheese.