Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Bocconcini

Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Bocconcini
Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

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.


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • ¾ pound ground turkey (93 percent lean, dark meat)

  • ¼ cup plain dry breadcrumbs

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

  • 8 ounces orecchiette or other short pasta

  • ½ 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.

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