Comfort Italian food is the best, especially when it’s easy! From the creaminess of the mozzarella to the fresh herbs and bright tomatoes in the pasta sauce, this recipe is one you’ll want to make for those evenings when you’re wanting to binge your favorite show with a bottle of wine. If you’re working towards that #summerbod and want to lay off the carbs that pasta brings, you can always substitute with quinoa pasta (which we’ve been obsessing over). Another yummy but healthier option is chickpea pasta! Sounds weird but it is a must try if you are looking for a healthier option packed with tons of protein and fiber.
If we are being honest, this recipe was born because we wanted to make turkey meatballs, but Hailey’s pan was not hot enough at first and the meatballs stuck. They fell apart but we just rolled with it and we are sure glad we did. That’s the thing about creating recipes at home, things do not always go as planned but that doesn’t mean it’s all for nothing. We Google things like “how to make my dish less salty” and “substitutes for eggs” all the time because things happen!
The reason this recipe is one of our top favorites of the summer is because of how simply It can be thrown together. It is almost a one-pot deal and actually could be if you wanted to cook the pasta in the sauce. Italy may hate us for it, but if you ever find yourself doing the same, just know we won’t judge you. Top with freshly grated parmesan, herbs and cracked black pepper (and a high quality extra virgin olive oil if you’re THAT fancy) and you will have a magnificently delicious summer pasta.
We need to practice our mozzarella making skills, but this dish is not complete without the creamy goodness of those little store-bought mozz pearls. You can marinade them in olive oil and Italian spices for extra “mmmph” or switch out for torn burrata pieces for an even more decadent bite.
We went with ground turkey in this recipe because it is light and doesn’t take away too much from the other flavors in the dish. Instead, it soaks up the flavor you give it and we gave it a lot! You can totally switch the ground turkey for a lean ground beef to make a more classic bolognese (aka failed meatballs).
Penne with Creamy Turkey Tomato Basil Sauce and Mozz Balls
Creamy mozzarella, fresh herbs, bright tomato flavor and hearty ground turkey makes this pasta dish a favorite of the summer!
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 5 basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 2 TBSP fresh parsley
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 6oz Can Tomato Purée
- 1 20oz Can Crushed Tomato
- 1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 lb Ground Turkey
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 lb. Penne Pasta
- 8 oz. Package of Mozzarella Pearls in water
- Heat a pan with 2 Tablespoons of good olive oil over medium heat. Sweat the onion, shallot and garlic until the onion starts to become translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the turkey, and break down into smaller pieces, cooking through for about 5 more minutes.
- Once the turkey is cooked, add the tomato paste and stir to coat everything in the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes, cream and vinegar.
- Cook the penne according to package directions, or until al dente. Don't forget to salt the water before adding the pasta!
- Add the parsley, basil, and dried oregano to your sauce. Cover the pan and let it simmer on low heat while the pasta finishes cooking.
- Once your pasta is finished cooking, and your sauce has come together in the pan, plate with mozzarella balls and basil.