Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

This dish is perfect for Dorothy Cann Hamilton's 11-year-old daughter, Olivia, who loves to slurp up the long spaghetti strands. Whole wheat pasta has slightly more fiber than ordinary pasta; here it's tossed with tomato sauce and meatballs.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small celery rib, very finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • Two 28-ounce cans whole plum tomatoes with juices, crushed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat milk
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a medium casserole or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add 1/2 cup of the onion and three of the minced garlic cloves along with the celery and carrot and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and all but 1 teaspoon of the basil, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of onion and the minced garlic clove and cook over moderately high heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Stir in the bread crumbs, milk and egg white. Add the oregano, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon of basil. Add the ground turkey and knead until combined. Using lightly moistened hands, roll the mixture into 36 1-inch meatballs and transfer them to a large baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add half of the meatballs and cook over high heat, turning, until browned and cooked through, about 6 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Repeat with the remaining meatballs. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

  4. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well and return to the pot. Add half of the tomato sauce and toss to coat. Transfer the spaghetti to a large serving bowl and pass the remaining sauce, meatballs and Parmesan at the table.

Make Ahead

The meatballs in sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


One Serving 586 cal, 20 gm fat, 3.7 gm saturated fat, 59 gm carb, 12 gm fiber.

Contributed By Published January 2005

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