One-Pot Penne with Turkey-Feta Meatballs

One-Pot Penne with Turkey-Feta Meatballs

Serves 6 to 8

Up to the point of adding the water and cooking the pasta, the meatballs and sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.


  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled, 3 left whole, 5 minced
  • 1½ pounds ground turkey (94% lean)
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (generous 4 ounces), plus more for topping
  • ½ cup crumbled saltine crackers (about 12 crackers)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces), minced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound penne pasta


  • Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add 3 whole garlic cloves and toast until spotty brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove garlic from skillet, smash, and mince.
  • Meanwhile, break up ground turkey into a medium bowl.
  • With a fork, mix in feta, cracker crumbs, oregano, and ¾ teaspoon salt.
  • Mix egg, minced toasted garlic, and tomato paste together; stir into turkey mixture with fork until thoroughly combined.
  • Using a 2-tablespoon measure, such as a coffee scoop, form mixture into about 36 cylindrical drum shapes.
  • Heat oil over low heat in a large heavy roasting pan set over two burners.
  • A couple of minutes before frying meatballs, increase heat to medium-high.
  • Add meatballs and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total.
  • Transfer to a plate.
  • Add remaining 5 minced garlic cloves, along with prosciutto, to roasting pan and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden.
  • Add wine and simmer to reduce by half, about a minute.
  • Add tomatoes and enough water to make a sauce-like consistency.
  • Bring to a simmer, add meatballs, and cook, loosely covered with heavy-duty foil, to blend flavors, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Still on medium-high heat, add 6 cups water, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt to pan and return to a simmer.
  • Add penne, cover loosely with foil, and cook, stirring gently and frequently, until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove foil and continue to simmer until sauce is thickened to your liking.
  • Serve, sprinkling each portion with feta cheese.


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