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Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs Served With Penne, Wilted Spinach, and Ricotta Salata

Polpette di tacchino senza glutine con penne, spinaci e ricotta salata

Ciaone a 2020 ~ Bye 2020

We all know the reasons we're happy to be moving on to a new year in a couple of days, but I have one in particular that I'm looking forward to (and hopefully not in vain). My amica del cuore and I turn 30 in 2021, and we have been hoping to celebrate that milestone over the summer in Italy together. Perhaps with the vaccines coming out, this dream can be a reality. I long for slow, hot days spent wandering the winding cobblestoned streets, evening aperitivo in the piazza, and my morning cappuccino and cornetto al ciocolato. These simple rituals, when accompanied by a best friend and the most beautiful language in the world, become extraordinary, and I hope I'm able to spend a few weeks in my favorite place with my favorite girl.

To Principessa PP, my life wouldn't be the same without you. Thank you for always wanting to eat the same thing for dinner as me and for never letting me say no to a night out. Italia summer 2021 or bust.


Now, about the food.

These turkey meatballs are seriously delicious and the pasta with spinach and ricotta salata is no joke either. Super flavorful and savory, and pretty healthy, too! (Which is great considering the collective bloat I know we're all experiencing as a society right now post holidays.) And the whole dish can be made gluten free if you use a gluten free pasta.

If you try making this recipe, let me know how you like it. And please share your travel aspirations for the upcoming year!

La Ricetta - The Recipe

Le polpette - the meatballs

Gli ingredienti - the ingredients

  • tacchino macinato ~ ground turkey - 1 pound

  • 1 cipolla gialla ~ 1 yellow onion - diced

  • 1 uovo ~ 1 egg - lightly beaten

  • latte intero ~ whole milk - 1/4 cup

  • erba cipollina ~ chives - 1 teaspoon

  • coriandolo ~ cilantro - 1 teaspoon

  • basilico ~ basil - 1 teaspoon

  • origano secco ~ dried oregano - 1/2 teaspoon

  • aglio ~ garlic - 2-3 cloves, minced

  • sale ~ salt - to taste

  • pepe ~ pepper - to taste

  • olio extra vergine d'oliva ~ evoo - a few tablespoons

Step 1. Chop the fresh herbs and combine all ingredients except for the olive oil in a medium bowl.

Step 2. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over a medium flame. Shape turkey mixture into 2 tablespoon sized balls and drop several of them into the skillet - be careful not to overcrowd the pan - and cook for a few minutes on each side.

Note - because of the lack of breadcrumbs or oats in this recipe, the meatballs may lose their round shape, but this is ok.

Repeat until all of the turkey mixture is cooked, adding more olive oil to the pan as necessary, and keep warm by placing a plate or lid over the meatballs until the pasta is ready.

La pasta ~ the pasta

Gli ingredienti - the ingredients

  • penne ~ penne (gf if that's your jam)

  • olio extra vergine d'oliva ~ evoo

  • aglio ~ garlic - 3-4 cloves, thinly sliced

  • peperoncini ~ red pepper flakes - a pinch

  • spinaci ~ spinach - three handfuls

  • ricotta salata - 2 ounces - shaved

Step 1. Cook pasta according to the directions on the package.

Step 2. Add a splash of olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the same skillet you used for the meatballs and let sizzle for a minute or so. Add the spinach. When just wilted, add the cooked pasta, the ricotta salata, and the meatballs to the skillet and give it a good mix.

Step 3. Serve and enjoy!

Buon appetito!

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