Turkey Meatballs (Polpettone di Tachino)

Total Time:
3 hr 20 min
2 hr 30 min
Inactive Prep:
50 min
6 servings


  • 8 to 10 slices day-old bread, to yield 4 cups of 1-inch cubes
  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into 1/8-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound fresh, sweet Italian turkey sausage, out of its skin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup pecorino
  • 2 bunches Italian parsley, chopped to yield 1/2 cup, plus1 bunch, chopped to yield 1/4 cup
  • Several gratings nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons plus 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Basic Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Recipe copyright 2000, Mario Batali. All rights reserved.
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
  • Salt, to taste


Soak the bread in water for 5 minutes, squeeze by hand to wring excess water, and add to turkey. Add the prosciutto, sausage, eggs, Parmigiano, 1/4 cup pecorino, 1/2 cup parsley, nutmeg and 4 tablespoons of olive oil and mix lightly. Season with salt and pepper and form the mixture into 3-inch balls. Place the balls on a sheet tray, cover with parchment and chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil to almost smoking and brown the meatballs in the oil on all sides. Add the tomato sauce and the wine and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with the remaining pecorino and parsley.

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Yield: 4 cups