Herbed Turkey Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Ricotta

This is very loosely adapted from Food and Wine Magazine; it is served with crusty bread, but hey…. a little pasta would be good in there as well. I bought the ricotta at Eataly (the Disneyworld of Italian food as my daughter cleverly dubbed it) and I have to admit that it was absolutely fantastic. It was worth every one of the 800 pennies I paid for it…
The original recipe calls for lamb but I prefer ground turkey (or beef for that matter); I had to add some breadcrumbs (about 1/2 cup) to the mixture as well since turkey is a little softer and wetter. You can add smushed anchovies to the tomato sauce if you want to along with the garlic.

2- 28 oz cans whole Italian tomatoes in their juices (San Marzano are extra-yummy)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
chopped basil, to taste (I used two of those frozen squares of chopped basil)
1 bay leaf
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1 T chili paste (I found this in the Italian section in a toothpaste tube type container)
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan; add the garlic, bay leaf and crushed red pepper and cook over medium high heat for about 45 seconds. Add the chili paste and tomatoes and bring to boil, crushing the tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes are thicker, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

1/2 cup raw almonds, finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 lbs ground turkey (or lamb or beef)
1 egg (2 if using beef or lamb)
1/4 cup finely chopped basil (I used 2 frozen squares of chopped basil)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t ground coriander
2 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground black pepper

In a large bowl, soak the almonds in the milk for about 30 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add everything else and mix together gently. Add breadcrumbs if necessary to firm up the meat mixture. Form into 1 1/2″ balls and place on a greased rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in a preheated 375ยบ oven for about 8-10 minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes more. Serve in bowls with dollops of ricotta; drizzle the cheese with EVOO and serve with crusty bread and a salad. 

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