Mozzarella Stuffed Pesto Turkey Meatballs

Hi Everyone! This was a recipe I made last night, that I've had on my list for a little while now. I was waiting until I had fresh pasta on hand, and I was able to score some at Mazzaro's this past weekend (a local Italian market that is everything in life). The original recipe (below) calls for A LOT of meatballs, in case you want to freeze them. However, I just altered this down to suit 1 pound of ground turkey instead of 3 pounds. You could easily just halve this recipe also. This was delicious, and I used Rao's Marinara sauce - because what's better?! Nothing! These were yummy - give them a try!

Ingredients:

3 lb ground turkey

1 cup Italian-seasoned dried bread crumbs

1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4 cup basil pesto

1/4 cup milk (I use nonfat)

1 tsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes (or you can use the Mozzarella Pearls)

1 tb olive oil

1 (24 oz) jars marinara sauce

1 1/2 lb fresh pasta (or boxed)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Tip: I poured a little olive oil on my hands before mixing. In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey, bread crumbs, onion, egg, garlic, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pesto, milk, salt and pepper until evenly blended. Form into 1 3/4 inch meatballs. Using your finger, make a hole in each meatball and insert a mozzarella cube or pearl. Seal meatballs around the cheese and place on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil if desired. Bake for 30 minutes or until the thermometer reads at least 165 degrees.

While the meatballs are cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta per the instructions. Fresh pasta should only take about 3 minutes. Also, pour the marinara into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer over low heat, approximately 3 minutes. If desired, pour the meatballs into the pan and coat with the sauce before serving over the pasta. I decided to mix the pasta with the sauce and top with the meatballs.

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