Dinner Tonight: California Meatballs with Lemon Scented Pasta

I came home from California inspired by the food and the freshness of ingredients…so, I decided to make a meal influenced by my trip.  And bonus…you can actually make this into two meals.  The pasta can be served separately as a vegetarian dish or alongside another protein (it would be fabulous with fish!).  Lemons, artichokes, spinach, bell peppers, red onion…all things fresh and fabulous…perfection for Spring.
Thank you California.
Shopping List (for the meatballs)
1 pound ground turkey (or chicken)
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup Panko (which are Japanese breadcrumbs but feel free to substitute with your favorite breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup Pepper Jack cheese, grated
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced (reserve a few tablespoons for pasta)
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
2 eggs, beaten
Lots of salt and pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Shopping List (for the pasta)
1 pound angel hair pasta
2-3 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 glove garlic, chopped
2-3 tablespoons half and half
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 (14 oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
For the meatballs, in a medium sized bowl, combine ground turkey, garlic, Panko, Pepper Jack, spinach, bell pepper, onion, eggs, zest and lots of S&P.  Form meat mixture into golf ball sized balls and then place them on a lightly greased baking pan (I always line with foil for easy clean up!).  Drizzle about a tablespoon of EVOO over all of the meatballs.  Roast in the oven about 25 minutes or until brown.
For the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente (about 5 minutes).  Meanwhile, saute your onion and garlic in a tablespoon or so of EVOO 2 to 3 minutes.  Toss in your drained and cooked pasta.  Add in half and half, zest and artichoke hearts and toss until everything is combined.  Sprinkle with a little S&P.
Serve pasta underneath meatballs.
That’s it!  The lemon really makes the other flavors stand out.  I love eating a meal that reminds me of a great trip.  Happy eating!
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  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} April 30, 2013 at 10:24 am

    This look great! And it's so so pretty!

  • Tiffany April 30, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Glad my state has inspired such a great looking dish! It sounds fantastic.

  • Paula May 1, 2013 at 12:23 am


  • Heather @ Southern State of Mind May 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Just wanted to let you know I am making this tonight. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Maggie&Kyle May 1, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    I made this tonight! Delicious!! Thanks again for all of your great recipes!

  • Kelly May 5, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I made this tonight and it was so fresh and light! Yummy!

  • Unknown July 8, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    My husband made this last night- so good! Nice and light!

  • Dana D'Orsi August 13, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Delicious! Made this the other night and LOVED it!!! Great summer meal!