I was watching Giada a few Saturday mornings ago and had to wipe drool away during her “meatball” episode.  Meatballs just aren’t something I make during the summer.  When I think of meatballs, I think of spaghetti, warm sweaters and leaves turning.

So when I watched one of my favorite Food Network stars make a Meatball and Kale Pizza, I knew this was coming to a fall menu near me.

I picked up a medium dough from my favorite pizza parlour (Fellini’s in Atlanta) and used only half the batch of meatballs on the pizza.  The other half I served over fresh spinach linguine noodles with marinara later in the week.

M husband is a little wary of ground turkey, but he absolutely loved the taste of these.  I’ll definitely be making again to use in marinara, meatball subs, etc.

Tell me, how do you make your favorite meatballs?

meatballs

Browned meatballs out of the oven

pizza1

Add mozzarella and parmesan and back into the oven

pizza2

Warm and cheesy out of the oven

pizza3

Crispy kale tops off this wholesome meal!

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pizza:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for oiling the baking sheet and for drizzling
  • One 1-pound ball pizza dough (I used a medium dough for a 12.5 in pizza stone)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella
  • 8 Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs, recipe follows, halved
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 2 medium leaves kale, ribs removed, coarsely chopped and massaged with evoo and salt and pepper

Directions

For the sauce: In a heavy small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the nutmeg, bay leaf and garlic. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens to sauce consistency and is smooth, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and garlic.

For the pizza: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Place the pizza stone in the oven, to get hot, while it is preheating.  Meanwhile, work with the dough to get it “stretched out” to go on the stone.  Honestly, this is an art.  Luckily, Jim has mastered it.  If this is your first time working with dough, you might want to buy two to play with until you get it right.

Once the oven is preheated, remove the stone and place it on a trivet.  Quickly spread the dough over the stone, being careful not to burn your fingers. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. Spoon the white sauce on top and spread evenly leaving a 1-inch border around the dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Arrange the meatballs, cut-side down, on top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the kale in an even layer on top of the meatballs. Bake until the kale is crispy, 10 minutes longer.

Cut into squares and serve.

Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs:

  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs (I use Panko for everything these days)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey meat
  • 1 pound spicy ground turkey
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, basil, parsley, milk, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic and onions. Stir to blend. Add the ground turkey and sausage meat. Using fingers, gently mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (22 to 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy nonstick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through, 15 minutes.

For more hearty fall meal ideas, get inspiration from my fellow #SundaySupper foodies.  Check out their tasty blogs below:

Amazing Breakfasts, Brunches, and Breads

Outstanding Soups, Starters and Sides:

Comforting Main Dishes:

Decadent Desserts:

Tasty Drinks:

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