Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Sherry-Cream Sauce

Ground turkey makes good meatballs, especially thigh meat. It’s juicier than breast meat, resulting in moist, tender meatballs that bake in about 20 minutes. You could cook them in a skillet, but baking them on parchment paper means no oil required—a plus when you’re serving them in a rich, creamy, slightly cheesy sauce.

The sauce here is alfredo-style, but I used half-and-half instead of heavy cream and mixed it with a bit of dry sherry for a flavor boost without any additional dairy. There’s plenty of that already. And that’s not a bad thing. Occasionally.

Serves 4

  • 1 lb ground turkey thigh meat
  • 1/3 cup fine, fresh breadcrumbs (such as panko)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, pus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz thin spaghetti
  • 1-1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving  
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, 1/2 the garlic, and next 4 ingredients (through Worcestershire sauce) in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Gently combine the mixture, without over-working.
  3. Divide and shape the turkey mixture into 12-14 1-1/2-inch-diameter meatballs and place them on the prepared pan. (Dampen your fingers with water a few times because the mixture will become sticky.)
  4. Bake until tender and just cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
Ready to Mix
Rolled Meatballs
Baked Meatballs
  1. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, 6-7 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
  2. Whisk together the half-and-half and sherry in a bowl.
  3. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat and add the butter, swirling as it melts. Add the remaining 1/2 of the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly to keep from clumping.
  4. Whisk in the half-and-half mixture and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook until slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Stir in 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and reduce the heat to low. Cook slowly until melted and well blended, 2 minutes.
  6. Add the baked meatballs, cooked spaghetti, and reserved 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce, stirring well to combine well.
Garlic in Butter
Flour Stirred In 
Half-and-Half Mixture Stirred In
Cheese Stirred In
Divide the pasta mixture among shallow bowls, allowing 3 to 4 meatballs per serving. Garnish with extra parmesan and chopped parsley.

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with Sherry-Cream Sauce

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