Updated: Jul 9, 2020
Juicy Roma Tomatoes, Fresh Basil Leaves, Spaghetti Nests sprinkled with Parmesan and Black Pepper and Savory Turkey Meatballs that are all honestly to die for.
One of the things that I love about this dish is that this dish is so classic and simple, yet with a little bit of styling it can be so elegant. It is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your next gathering or it is even perfect for an Italian themed date night in with your significant other.
I love serving this dish with my Chunky Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper Marinara sauce on the side as well. Some love just the tomatoes and others like it a little bit saucy.
Serves 4 + Extra for left overs
INGREDIENTS: For the Roasted Roma Tomatoes and Turkey Meatballs Platter
1 package spaghetti
1 lb. ground turkey
7 large roma tomatoes, cut in half
1 package fresh basil leaves, 2 TBSP for Tomatoes + extra for garnish
2 TBSP fresh thyme leaves, leaves plucked from their stems
1/2 TBSP dried parsley flakes
2 TBSP olive oil
2 eggs, yolk plus whites
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 TBSP minced garlic, divided
Salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS: For the Roasted Roma Tomatoes and Turkey Meatballs Platter
Boil salted water over high heat. Once it is boiling add spaghetti. Cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. When finished, drain and run under cold water. Set aside. ** NOTE: after straining the pasta do not mix with olive oil. You want the noddles to stick together, so when creating the nests they do not fall apart. **
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees and prepare a baking sheet. Slice roma tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Mix together with olive oil, salt, thyme leaves and basil leaves. Once finished place on prepared baking sheet.
In a separate bowl, mix together ground turkey, eggs, Italian breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Once mixed, create 1-2 inch meatballs with your hands. **NOTE: I like to use a 1 TBSP spoon to scoop out and help create that ball mixture. Sometimes, they can tend to be small so feel free to add a little more to the scoop if needed.** Place meatballs on the same baking sheet as the tomatoes and randomly spread them out throughout.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes checking on them every once in a while.
Remove from heat and let cool. Serve with spaghetti.
INGREDIENTS: For the Chunky Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper Marinara Sauce
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Half of a yellow onion, finely diced
5 medium roma tomatoes, cut in half
8 garlic cloves, chopped in bigger pieces (not minced) + 1 TBSP minced garlic
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 32 oz. can diced tomatoes with garlic and basil
2 bay leaves
1 TBSP fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TSP sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare the red bell pepper, onion, tomatoes and garlic.
Prepare a baking sheet, spray with non-stick spray and add bell peppers and tomatoes. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until soft. Once finished, remove from oven and let cool. Remove skin from tomatoes and place in a blender. Add 1 TSP salt, 1 TSP pepper and 1 TBSP minced garlic. Blend until smooth.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and onions. Saute for 3 minutes. Add chunks of bell pepper and continue sautéing for another 2 minutes. Add cans of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
Add in basil leaves, italian seasoning and sugar and stir. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve with pasta and meatballs on the side.
PRETTY PLATE PRESENTATION INSTRUCTIONS:
I like to start with plating the spaghetti nests first, then build around that. You can either build them as you go OR pre-build the spaghetti nests, set them all aside and then build. I just built them as I plated them up. To create these, take a large fork, stick them in the bowl of spaghetti and take a chunk out. Begin to twirl them around on a plate until you get that nest look.
Next, take your meatballs and place them randomly throughout the platter next to the spaghetti.
Then, do the same thing with the tomatoes. At this point, the platter should be full and pretty looking.
Add fresh basil leaves, both full leaves and chopped. Stick them in any other areas that feel bare or need some sprucing up.
To add the final touches, sprinkle spaghetti with shredded parmesan cheese and black pepper.
PRETTY PLATE KITCHEN ITEMS USED: