Dinner for One: My Father’s Marinara

My Father’s Marinara

Planning, preparing, and sharing dinner with my husband may be the quotidian pleasure I enjoy the most. It’s our time to look back on our day, discuss what’s on our mind, and give thanks for what we have. Unfortunately, fate occasionally steps in, snatches this delight away, and leaves me alone for dinner. In my youth, I may have handled this disappointment with a pre- and post-prandial libation, skipping the dinner between them. These days, however, being much older and a tad wiser, I may limit myself to one cocktail but shall never forego cooking and having at least a simple meal after it. I guess it’s my way of countering fortune and carrying on.

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Turkey-Spinach Meatballs


If you had asked me a year ago what I thought of turkey meatballs, I probably would have said “Are you kidding?” But last night, I remembered we had about a pound and a half of ground turkey in the fridge and I didn’t want it to go to waste.

I have a pretty good collection of cookbooks, but none of them had a recipe for ground turkey other than the turkey meatloaf I made for brunch on Sunday. So, I searched the Internet and among a plethora of suggestions, one stood out: Turkey-Spinach Meatballs.

Now as an Italian-American growing up in Brooklyn, I’m no stranger to meatballs. My aunt would make them often for Sunday dinner and, on occasion, would sneak one, freshly fried and with a drizzle of sauce, to me before I had to go to mass. When I told her I couldn’t eat it before receiving communion, she’d say “It’s so little and so good, God won’t mind.”

Indeed they were good, and it’s her recipe that I often follow when I prepare them. But I had to get rid of the turkey.

The recipe I found was on the Bon Appétit website and it also included a recipe for a marinara sauce that was also quite different from my own. But as long as I was going for the meatballs, I thought I’d make the sauce as well. Here’s a link to the site: Turkey-Spinach Meatballs


I have to admit that these were some of the best meatballs I have ever had. What surprised me about even more about how good they were is that rather than being fried, they were broiled. Soft and succulent, napped in a slightly spicy rich tomato sauce, they’re a perfect weeknight meal served either with pasta or, as we did, with good Italian bread.

My only deviations from the recipe were that I used slightly less oil than called for in the sauce and used crushed rather than whole tomatoes. I also used 87% fat turkey for the meatballs and may have broiled them a bit longer than specified.

Wine Pairing: Chianti Classico