Pennette with Mini Turkey-Prosciutto Meatballs

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Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

This take on spaghetti and meatballs is perfect for kids. Extra meatballs make tasty appetizers (or an after-school snack); serve with toothpicks alongside warm marinara. The recipe makes about twice as much marinara sauce as you need, so save the remaining sauce for topping pasta or homemade pizza.


For the marinara sauce:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (28 oz./875 g) crushed tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 lb. (500 g) ground turkey
  • 1/4 lb. (125 g) prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) plain fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz. (375 g) pennette
  • 6 oz. (185 g) bocconcini, cut into small pieces (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil


To make the marinara sauce, in a heavy nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté just until soft, about 1 minute longer.

Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the oregano and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Set aside 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 g) of the marinara sauce. Store the remaining sauce in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

To make the meatballs, preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). In a bowl, combine the turkey, prosciutto, garlic, bread crumbs, parsley and egg. Using your hands, mix until roughly combined (do not overmix). Stir in the Parmesan, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Using your hands again, form the turkey mixture into meatballs of about 1 tsp. each, arranging them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet as you work. Repeat until all the meatballs are formed. Bake until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat.

Gently warm the marinara sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce and stir gently until all the meatballs are well coated with sauce. Reduce the heat to very low and cover to keep warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the warm sauce and meatballs and toss to mix well. Stir in the bocconcini and basil, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Pasta Night, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014)

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