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Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Bocconcini


Dark-meat turkey yields more tender meatballs than turkey breast. Tossing the hot pasta with the meatballs and bocconcini melts the cheese a bit. Look for bocconcini -- bite-size morsels of fresh mozzarella -- at specialty food stores and Italian markets, as well as many supermarkets; they're usually packaged in water or whey for freshness.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Source: Everyday Food, September 2007


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey (93 percent lean, dark meat)
  • 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces orecchiette or other short pasta
  • 1/2 pint bocconcini (about 20 balls)


  1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large bowl, combine turkey, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, 1/4 cup parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix to combine. Using a level 1-tablespoon measure for each, form mixture into meatballs (you should have about 24).

  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Add meatballs, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water; simmer, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through and liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook until they begin to soften, about 1 minute.

  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, return to pot, and place on the still-warm burner. Add bocconcini, meatballs and sauce, remaining 1/4 cup parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and remaining tablespoon butter. Season with salt and pepper, and toss until combined.

Reviews Add a comment

  • ALR3388031DW
    15 APR, 2016
    I have been making this for years! So good and so simple. I usually wait and add the mozzarella to each bowl when serving or else all the balls sink and melt into one blob! I have made this adding a splash of white wine to the cooking liquid and will throw in extra veggies if I have them, broccoli or sugar snap peas are very good in this. Or it's perfect as is!
  • Lisa1129
    22 SEP, 2010
    This is my kids FAVORITE meal! And they are very picky eaters. Whenever I make this dish, there are never any leftovers. The only change I made is using basil instead of parsley. Very Yummy!
  • marabou09
    7 APR, 2009
    So good, and so yummy! I can't wait to make this for guests. Next time, I might use chicken broth or white wine instead of water.
  • scubajenn
    8 JUN, 2008
    My family LOVES this recipe. It's really easy to do. I often use pasta shells instead of the orechiette, since I usually have shells. I use a littel bit less water than called for and I don't put the tomatoes in until the end when I put everything together, because my husband doesn't like cooked tomatoes. DELICIOUS and very kid friendly.
  • alexis0012
    11 MAR, 2008
    This is my boyfriend's new favorite recipe. It's pretty darn good as is. The only thing I would do differently next time is wait for the pasta and turkey balls to cool down before adding the bocconcini because they turn into slightly melted, very chewy little balls.
  • dangelz3
    5 MAR, 2008
    what sauce ? theres no dirrections for it
  • lulieliv
    25 FEB, 2008
    this is awesome. use mashed garlic cheese croutons for breadcrumbs.