It was born when hubby and I were contemplating what was left over in the fridge from previous meals, that needed using up. I had two cooking chorizo that had been sitting waiting for something to do for, probably two weeks or more - and they were getting a little downhearted. So, it was time to find something for them.
The Turkey & Fennel meatball dish has, so far, spawned a couple of meatball recipes that I've been quite happy with. Plus, turkey mince is just so easy to convert to meatballs. Taken directly from the fridge, it doesn't require any breadcrumbs, or egg, to hold it together - I've never yet had a turkey meatball collapse on me. I've included chargrilled peppers with the turkey mince for meatballs, which were very decent - and this time, I included my two chorizo sausages, chopped finely.
I also added a half a teaspoon of finely ground black pepper and a pinch of chilli flakes (plus a little salt) for seasoning - which turkey definitely requires. Neither the pepper nor the chilli made a discernible impact upon the meatballs, but I can imagine that they would have been fairly bland, without them.
As the meatballs cook, they release the lovely paprika flavoured oil from the chorizo, which lends colour (as well as flavour) to the turkey mince. I will admit that I did slightly overdo the colouration on the meatballs, but I was aware that the chorizo was fairly elderly and wasn't prepared to take any chances. Not with hubby having just got over a nasty tummy conniption - didn't want any action replays of that!
To accompany the meatballs, I made a lovely pan of spaghetti which I then tossed in a red pesto. Gorgeous.
Now I really love spaghetti. I think, over all the pastas, it's my favourite type - with linguine a close second. I love, at the beginning of a meal, twirling my fork in the pasta strands and the challenge of eating it without getting it all down my front. (Which isn't easy - as my front has a magnetic effect, where food is concerned). Then, as the meal progresses, I change from demurely twiddling to grabbing a spoon and chopping off great spoonfuls of spaghetti. I know that's not how you're supposed to eat the stuff, but it works for me - and there's something so comforting about munching your way through hot spaghetti that's coated in a lovely tomato sauce or a pesto. Happy days!
If you think about how much this dish has cost, it really was one of the most economical recipes I've cooked, recently. It probably only cost around £1.50 per portion - and if you've already got spaghetti in your store cupboard (and pepper, chilli flakes & olive oil), then it's probably even less.
With a liberal sprinkling (actually, something of a deluge) of finely grated Parmesan, this was a supremely easy dinner - that everyone really liked the flavours of. Not everyone in our family enjoys spaghetti, but it was very nice to have it for a change. I'll definitely be making those meatballs again.
TURKEY & CHORIZO MEATBALLS ON PESTO SPAGHETTI (Serves 3)
500g turkey mince
100g cooking chorizo sausages
½ a tsp of finely ground black pepper
a large pinch of dried red chilli flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
300g or thereabouts, of dried spaghetti
200g jar of red pesto
finely grated Parmesan, to serve.
1. Take the chorizo sausage and chop into tiny dice, as finely as you can achieve. Place into a large bowl with the turkey mince, pepper and chilli flakes and give a good mix and squish with your hands, to make sure the chorizo and seasoning is evenly spread.
2. Take a pinch of the mixture and roll in your hands (it helps to keep your hands wet) to form a walnut-sized (or slightly smaller) ball. Don't make the meatballs too big, or they take for ever to cook. These quantities should make 12-13.
3. Next, place a large pan of salted water on to boil for the spaghetti and heat the oil in a frying pan.
4. When the oil is really quite hot, gently introduce the meatballs to the frying pan and cook - reducing the heat if necessary - until the oil from the chorizo has finished running from them and they have a good caramelisation, without being burnt!
5. When the water boils, cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, then drain and add the pesto. Toss the spaghetti to coat each strand in pesto.
6. Serve onto warmed plates, placing the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and with finely grated Parmesan for sprinkling over.