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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

26. Florentine Meatballs

A traditional turkey or chicken Florentine is creamy and filled with spinach.  These meatballs don’t disappoint!  It puts the spinach in the meatballs, served with a creamy, cheesy sauce.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the sauce on this one.  It was a bit heavy for my liking.  I think I would have preferred a good red sauce, but this one was OK.

There is a small discrepancy with this recipe.  The book says use 2 packages of turkey, whereas online on two different RR websites it calls for one package.  All other ingredients remain the same.  I had good luck with using two packages, but you do get a TON of meatballs.  I had about 3 cookie sheets full.  Now it seems like a lot, but they freeze and reheat really well.  On a night when we don’t really feel like cooking, I throw some into the slow cooker with some spaghetti sauce – dinner ready!

Meatball tip of the day!  I don’t like huge meatballs.  I also hate ending up with a bunch of balls that are different sizes, they cook differently.  Use a cookie scoop!  You do end up with one flat side, but all you have to do is scoop them out and you have meatballs that are all the same shape and size.  Genius right? I don’t claim originality on that one, but it is a fabulous idea.

**This recipe comes from Rachael Ray 365 – No Repeats.  Most of the recipes are directly from the book, but some I do change out ingredients a bit for things my family prefers. I’ll add my own comments in with a **.

What do you need?

1 box frozen spinach, defrosted in the microwave 
2 2/3 pound (2 package) ground turkey breast **I’ve seen this recipe online and it calls for 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey … not sure if this is a typo in the book, but it turned out great with 2, you just get a million meatballs!
1 medium onion, finely chopped, divided
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups milk, divided
3/4 cup bread crumbs, 3 handfuls
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 palm fulls
Coarse salt and black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 (10-ounce) sack shredded provolone or blend of Italian cheeses, available on dairy aisle
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped

Now what?

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wring defrosted spinach dry in a clean kitchen towel. **Tip to defrost spinach – put it in the microwave for 4 minutes on 70% power, but be careful when you wring it out.  The water may be hot! **  Place turkey in a bowl and make a well in the middle of it. Add the spinach, all but 3 tablespoons of the onion, all of the garlic, 1 large egg, about 1/4 cup milk, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix well.


Form into 12 large balls and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. **I used a small cookie scoop and got around 50 meatballs** Arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast 20 minutes, or until cooked through.


While balls are in the oven, heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Melt butter, add remaining finely chopped onion and cook 2 minutes then whisk in flour. Cook flour 1 minute, then whisk in 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 cup stock. Bring liquid up to a boil then stir in shredded provolone or blended Italian cheeses. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, turn heat to lowest setting.

Place 3 balls on dinner plates and top with sauce, garnish with parsley. **I also cooked up some whole wheat fettuccini because I thought this dish needed some pasta!


4-6 servings with plenty of meatballs to freeze

How did yours turn out??

Until the next time…
The girl behind the lama

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