Julia Turshen’s Turkey Ricotta Meatballs (from "Small Victories")

by Hammertown Barn
Julia Turshen’s Turkey Ricotta Meatballs (from

Here's the perfect recipe for a chilly Fall evening. Julia Turshen is one of our favorite chefs and cookbook authors. In fact, she was featured in Joan's book "Entertaining in the Country". This recipe is from Julia's first (and very well-received) cookbook "Small Victories" which we carry at Hammertown along with her other popular titles.


    From Julia Turshen's cookbook "Small Victories". This is the first recipe Julia ever cooked for her wife!


    (Serves 8 - about 30 meatballs)




    • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole canned tomatoes


    • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


    • 7 garlic cloves, 4 thinly sliced, 3 minced


    • kosher salt, to taste


    • 1 cup fresh basil leaf, finely chopped


    • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped


    • 1 1⁄2 cups fresh whole milk ricotta cheese


    • 1⁄2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese


    • 2 lbs ground turkey, at room temperature (preferably dark meat)




    1. Pour the contents of the tomato cans into a large bowl (set the cans aside) and crush the tomatoes with your hands (this is a messy but fun job, and a very good one for children). Rinse one of the cans with about 1/4 cup water, pour it into the second can and swish it around to get all the excess tomato out of the cans, and then pour the water into the tomato bowl.


    2. In a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, add the sliced garlic, and cook, stirring, until it begins to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and a very large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring every so often, until it is slightly reduced and has lost any tin-can taste, about 30 minutes.


    3. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425°F [220°C]. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil on the baking sheet and use your hands to rub it over the entire surface of the sheet. Set aside.


    4. In a large bowl, combine the minced garlic, basil, parsley, ricotta, Parmesan, turkey, and 1 tablespoon salt. Blend everything together gently but authoritatively with your hands (they’re the best tool for the job) until well mixed. Then, use your hands to form the mixture into golf ball–sized meatballs; the mixture will be sticky, so wet your hands with a bit of water to help prevent the meat from sticking to them. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet as you form them (it’s okay if they are touching a little). Drizzle the meatballs with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast until they’re browned and firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.


    5. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the meatballs to the simmering sauce (discard whatever juice and fat is left on the baking sheet). Cook the meatballs for 10 minutes in the sauce (they can be left in the gently simmering sauce for up to 1 hour) and serve.


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