Thursday, March 17, 2011


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Isn't this a sweet looking little guy? Has anyone seen any of the 4 Leprechaun movies? Fun fact...Jennifer Aniston actually stars in one them. Her proudest work, I'm sure. Hey, we all gotta start somewhere, right?

Ok, on to food!

In celebration of this fine holiday, here is a wonderfully “green” recipe. (it’s healthy too!)

Spinach & Pesto Turkey Meatballs
3 slices packaged white bread, crusts removed, bread torn
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup packed chopped frozen spinach, thawed, and all liquid squeezed out
3 tablespoons diced white onion
1 large egg
1 ½ pound ground turkey
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly grated pecorino cheese for serving
1/3 cup pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 ½ cloves garlic
¼ cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
salt and pepper

To start, prepare the pesto:

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and process until fully blended and smooth. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the pecorino.

Now for St. Patrick’s Balls:

In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 2 minutes, mashing it. Squeeze the bread to press out the milk and drain out any excess milk. Add 1/3 cup of the pesto you just prepared, the diced onion, and the egg to the bread. Mash with your hands until it forms a gooey paste.

To quickly thaw the frozen chopped spinach, place in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Place thawed spinach in a colander and push firmly down to get all the excess liquid out of the spinach. Take drained spinach and pack into a measuring cup.

Add spinach, bread mixture and ground turkey to a large mixing bowl. Add about 1 teaspoon of Salt and Pepper. Mix well with hands to make sure all ingredients are well blended.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Roll meat mixture into 1 ½ inch balls. You should have about 20 when finished.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add meatballs and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally (about 10 minutes) until browned evenly and cooked throughout. (I usually sacrifice one meatball by cutting it in half to make sure it is thoroughly cooked through...this one was and it tasted delicious too!)

Place cooked meatballs on a large platter. Top each meatball with a dollop of remaining pesto, then top with pecorino and serve.

Feel free to serve as an appetizer or pair with your favorite pasta. These meatballs are so tasty and moist, you can serve them almost any way you like and they'll be just as delicious. I paired mine with a spinach pasta for an extra green St. Patty’s day effect. (To the pasta, I added a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water, a tablespoon of the pesto and tossed until evenly coated). I placed the meatballs on top and voilĂ !