Spinach pesto is a wonderful alternative to traditional basil pesto when fresh basil cannot be found. You could always use basil pesto (see our basil pesto recipe) or use another hearty green like kale in the place of spinach. (See our kale pesto recipe). There will likely be pesto leftover, we have included storing suggestions in the notes section below.
One pound of meat will make 22 to 24 meatballs.
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1 pound spinach, rinsed (about 4 cups)
2 cloves garlic, roughly minced
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Marsala or Madeira wine
2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons grated or very finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 pound ground dark turkey meat
Cooking spray or olive oil for baking
1 pound dry spaghetti
Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking frequently, until fragrant, browned, and not burned.
Add the spinach, walnuts and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times so everything is chopped small. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl. Once all the olive oil has been added, check the consistency of the pesto — we like it to have some texture. If you prefer it smoother, pulse a few more times.
Transfer pesto to a bowl then stir in cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or store for later.
Heat wine in a small saucepan until hot. Take the pan off of the heat and add the dried apricots and cranberries. Set aside for 10 minutes to plump up and cool. Drain.
In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, chopped spinach, feta cheese, salt and the pepper until well blended. Stir in the dried fruit then use a fork to gently mix in the turkey meat.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Roll meatball mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and place on the baking sheet. Spray tops of meatballs with cooking spray or drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
While the meatballs bake, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until it is tender but not mushy. Toss with a few tablespoons of spinach pesto, thinning with a little of the hot cooking water as necessary. Serve with the baked meatballs on top.