Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oprah's Favorite Turkey Meatballs

A few years ago Oprah said that her favorite lunch was three turkey meatballs from Tratoria Mollie in Montecito. Mollie's, as us locals call it, is a fantastic Italian restaurant serving fresh pasta, pizza, etc... Naturally I headed straight to Mollie's to get my hands on these meatballs Oprah raved about. They were super flavorful and juicy. The secret ingredient? Raisins. Yes, raisins.

I like to make healthy Spaghetti and Meatballs, so instead of deep frying I brown them in a little olive oil or bake the meatballs. Often I make them really early in the day and leave them in the slow cooker covered in sauce until dinnertime. I will share my sauce recipe in another post, but I add a ton of veggies to it (carrots, celery, bell pepper, and mushrooms are favorites).

While Tratoria Mollie is a fun place to visit, especially if you're sitting next to Oprah, these meatballs will cost you about $26 for dinner. Thank you Mollie for sharing your recipe so we can make them at home.
Turkey Meatball (Polpette alla Mollie)
makes 18 meatballs 
  • 1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 2 ounces fresh breadcrumbs , plus 10 ounces to coat meatballs
  • 1 whole egg , plus 4 more for egg wash
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese , plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 3 ounces black raisins
  • 4 ounces white flour
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 12 tablespoons chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 4 cups fresh tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano

Please head over to Oprah's site for the directions here


  1. Thanks for posting Marina! When I had these at Mollie's, I noticed a strong flavor of licorice, which doesn't seem to be listed in your recipe. Yay! Cuz I hate licorice flavor.

  2. Funny...I made turkey meatballs this weekend.YUM

  3. This looks like a must try, intriguing the list of ingredients. Lovely cooking, wishing I could try some right now

  4. I am definitely going to try this one out! David is not so fond when I substitute poultry for beef, but I'm not going to tell him until after the verdict. :)

  5. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM meatballs! I had a meatball sub yesterday. I've eaten so many meatballs with this baby in me!

  6. I don't eat beef so turkey meatballs are perfect for me! I never thought of putting raisins in them, I will have to try it!
    thanks so much for the inspiration!

  7. Anonymous4:23 PM

    What do you do with the whipping cream?


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