Looking for an easy weeknight dinner that's sure to please everyone? This pasta with turkey meatballs and mozzarella is quick and simple and delicious!
(This recipe for Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Mozzarella was originally posted in March 2008, but was updated with new photos and content in 2019).
The year is currently 2019 and I am updating this blog post I wrote way back in 2008. Guess what? At the time, this was my first EVER experience making meatballs.
Wow. 11 years have now passed and I can't even tell you how many meatballs I've made since I first wrote this post. They're one of my favorite foods to make and I have countless meatball recipes on this blog now.
Back in 2008, I expressed apprehension about how difficult these turkey meatballs would be. I used a Martha Stewart recipe as a base and was shocked by how quick and easy they are.
11 years later and I could probably make these meatballs with my eyes closed. I could actually make this whole pasta dish with my eyes closed, but I'd be slightly worried I wouldn't notice the water boiling over. So, I'll keep my eyes open, but keep this pasta with turkey meatballs and mozzarella recipe on hand for a quick and easy dinner.
PASTA WITH TURKEY MEATBALLS AND MOZZARELLA RECIPE
I made a few adjustments to Martha's original recipe (including using mozzarella instead of bocconcini (since mozzarella is generally easier to find) and panko instead of breadcrumbs.
All you have to do is get a large bowl and mix together the ground turkey (I use 93% lean, but you can use any kind you want), panko, grated parmesan, garlic, egg, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Form the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs (you should be able to get about 28 meatballs).
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet and add meatballs. Cook, turning as needed, until browned, about 5-7 minutes. If you can't fit all your meatballs in the skillet, you can cook them in two batches.
Add water to the skillet and simmer, being sure to stir on occasion, for about 10 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through (they should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees) and liquid is reduced to about ½ cup.
Add tomatoes and cook for another minute.
While the meatballs are cooking, you should be boiling your pasta. Once the pasta is al dente, drain it, put it back in the pot and add the little mozzarella balls.
Then add the meatballs and tomatoes and any liquid in the pan. Add more parsley, parmesan, and butter and mix it up.
Isn't that such a pretty sight??
The first time I made this pasta with turkey meatballs dish, I was so, so proud of myself. I also paired it with a $3.50 bottle of wine from Trader Joe's. Oh how I miss living so close to Trader Joe's!
A nice (or a $3.50) bottle of white wine would go so perfectly with this pasta dish.
Despite being made with a lean turkey, these meatballs are absolutely packed with flavor and are incredibly tender. You can obviously make them and enjoy them on their own without the pasta or can serve them as a part of any kind of pasta dish.
But I'll pretty much never turn down a meal that involves pasta.
The dish also makes a good amount, which means you'll hopefully have some leftovers and can take pasta with turkey meatballs and mozzarella with you to work the day after you make it. Or have dinner ready for two nights in a row.
Or bring it to share with friends.
I love quick and easy dinners that can be made when you get home from work in the evening with no problem at all. Especially when they taste as delicious as this one!
I'm so happy I learned how to make turkey meatballs 11 years ago and realized how crazy easy they are. Life has forever been changed!
If you're looking for more delicious meatball recipes (I know so many now!), check out my Garlic Habanero Chicken Meatballs and my Gorgonzola Meatballs with Creamy Tomato Gravy. I also really want to try this Meatball Soup from Small Town Woman!
Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Mozzarella
- 1 lb. ground turkey (I use 93%)
- ⅓ cup panko
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 12 oz. orecchiette or similar pasta
- 1 pint small mozzarella balls (pearls) or mozzarella cut into small pieces
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, panko, garlic, egg ¼ cup grated parmesan, ¼ cup parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Form the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs (you should be able to get about 28-30 meatballs).
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet and add meatballs. Cook, turning as needed, until browned, about 5-7 minutes. If you can’t fit all your meatballs in the skillet, you can cook them in two batches. Return all meatballs to skillet.
- Add water to the skillet and simmer, being sure to stir on occasion, for about 10 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through (they should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees) and liquid is reduced to about ½ cup. Add tomatoes and cook for another minute.
- While meatballs are cooking, boil pasta. Add it to a large pot of salted water and cook until just al dente. Drain and return to pot.
- Add meatballs and tomatoes (along with liquid in pan), mozzarella, remaining parmesan cheese, remaining parsley, and butter. Toss to combine. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
- Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.
Yummy! That looks awesome! I just linked the boyfriend and he agrees we must make this ASAP. Beautiful colors and delicious-sounding flavors!
you are seriously my personal martha stewart. all my cooking skillz...thanks to you and your inspiration. Adding this one to the "to make" list. <3 <3
sus that looks so good! i believe brocolinni is almost a 'hybrid' of regular brocolli. smaller florettes and stems. next time if you wanted to, you could just use regular brocolli and cut it very small. but your version looks yummy!
We Are Not Martha says
Bunny- Definitely...I HIGHLY recommend it...I have a huge thing with colorful food and this was perfecttt. Let me know how it comes out 🙂
Heidi- Awww 🙂 But, you're not bad yourself! Those cupcakes you made the other day?? I need to make them ASAP.
Sara- omg that's what I immediately thought too! But it's not broccolini, it's bocconcini, which is allegedly a type of cheese. I came really close to buying broccolini though!
Ooh, I found it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bocconcini. Not sure where to buy it, however . . .
Those meatballs are to die for! I must make this dish. Yummy!
I adore meatballs and yours are calling to me. I'm not familiar with that type of pasta---but it looks delicious, so that's all that counts!
How To Eat A Cupcake says
The pasta reminds me of belly buttons!
Rob @ I Love Substance says
yah that looks really grub!
one girl says
bocconcini is chese made from water buffalo milk. i kid you not. and I only know this because I lived in Rome for awhile. it's similar to (good) mozzarella as they're both packaged in milk.
those look awesome though, regardless 🙂
That looks sooooo good! I am definately going to try and make it one night, except with chicken meatballs since I have a ton of ground chicken I need something to do with!
please make this for me asap. thanks. bye.
I would marry that serving of food.
I made this for C and I on Saturday night and it was AWESOME! I loved the meatballs. The only thing is I tasted them before I added the water, and was obsessed, and then after I did the water reduction thing, the meatballs didn't seem AS flavorful, which was kind of sad. But basically, I was addicted. We both ate like 3 helpings. Thanks for posting the recipe!
i made this last week for my wife, it came out great!! I did find the chesse you mentioned in my local stop and shop here in new jersey.
I buy bocconcini at my HEB in the section with the Rondele cheeses and the packaged feta in the plastic container. It is really just small mozzarella balls.
I made this dish several weeks ago and it was yummy. Then I lost the recipe. So glad to find it here! I will make it again this week! Thanks!
(I'm reading this a bit later than it's been posted.)
Bocconcini is smaller balls of fresh mozzarella. When I buy it (on an odd occasion) in my local store, it looks just like what you've put in your dish 🙂
(I live in Australia, and I used to work in a deli in Canada, where Bocconcini looked, again, just like what you've got there 🙂 )
one more time with feeling says
OMG this looks amazing! also, here's to Trader Joes! Best place on earth!
so i know i am posting this much later than when you originally blogged this...but i made this the other night with bowtie pasta and it was amazing. i couldn't find either type of pasta you mentioned at albertsons! boooo! i also added more parsley and chesse than it called for in the metaballs plus diced tomotoes instead of the whole tomotoes. so great!