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Turkey Meatball Orecchiette

Tonight Ryan is taking our son on his very first camping trip with some other father-son types in the neighborhood.


He's 100% confident.

I'm 100% scared to death.

Whenever I hear the words toddler and camping overnight in the same sentence, I can't help but panic. I just think of rushing water, poison ivy/oak, pointed hot dog roasters, sharp rocks, empty/lit fire pits, mosquito/spider bites, midnight waking/crying, the inevitable need for a first aid kit, and...well...

...the fact that my toddler has never slept in a tent/outside overnight before.

Although I have confidence in Ryan's abilities, I seriously with I had video of every second - or some kind of a live feed.

Any must-have advice for the first-time camper, and his Daddio? or even for the paranoid Mama?

- -

Now to the food: ever tried orecchiette pasta before? They are simply darling. Instead of twirling back into themselves like pasta shells, the orecchiette pasta actually cups the sauce, broccolini florets, and mini-meatballs like a little bowl.

Also, where have I been my whole life? Italian turkey sausage is amazing. I ate a majority of the first batch of meatballs before the second batch was even browned. It was just so easy and tasty to pop a few meatballs along the way. They have that usual sausage flavor we all love, but are even more tender to the taste. Really, really, good stuff - and perfect for a quick weeknight meal.


Turkey Meatball Orecchiette 
makes 4 medium-large servings

12 oz orchiette pasta
2 bunches broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1/4 C EVOO, plus more for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 large egg
salt and pepper
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil & add the pasta. Cook according to directions on package to reach al dente. Add broccolini during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the rest.
2. Meanwhile, roll the sausage meat into about 20 very small meatballs. Heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through - about 5-6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
3. Pour off any drippings from the skillet, then add the remaining 3 T EVOO, the garlic, red pepper flakes and the 1/2 t salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, 1 minute. Add the pasta, broccolini, and meatballs. Whisk the egg with the reserved cooking water in a small bowl, then add to the skillet to stir until sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with a teeny bit more EVOO.

recipe source: Food Network Magazine, April 2013 issue, pg. 98


  1. I wish I had some advice but honestly this is probably one of those times when you have to just take a deep breathe. Plan and pack accordingly and just hope for the best. Try to relax and enjoy some alone time and think of all the positives. Lots of bonding time and memories that will last forever.

  2. Such great recipes! I'm a new follower and am so glad I came across your blog - such food inspiration (and I love that it is being shared by a fellow blonde!)

    - Kathleen


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