It was called "Circus Pizza" and it was owned by an Italian guy and his Russian wife.
They ran the place like it was their own home. They offered honest Italian dishes and a really good thin-crust pizza. They were both adorable and arguably the best employers I've worked for.
One night after service was over and everyone had gone home, I started making tomato sauce for the next day in one of those huge commercial mixers. Brilliant me decides that if the sauce takes 10 minutes to mix on speed 1, it should only take 1 minute to mix on speed 10.
I patted myself on the back for coming up with such a smart idea and happily turned the dial to 10. Only for a second.
That is exactly how long it took for the entire contents of the mixing bowl to empty themselves all over the prep area and all over myself (I had tomato sauce in my hair, ugh!)
There was sauce everywhere. The place was covered from floor to ceiling in tomato sauce.
I spent the next two hours cleaning the kitchen up, but there was no relief in sight.
All of a sudden Italian boss comes back to the pizza place (he had forgotten his phone or something) and enters the kitchen to find me covered in tomato sauce still trying to clean up the mess.
I wanted to die.
Rather than trying to come up with a lame excuse, I decided to be honest about it and explained him what happened.
To my own surprise, instead of getting angry, he started laughing hysterically.
I remember him saying "Don't worry boss, don't worry boss. As long as we clean this mess before my wife gets here tomorrow morning, no one will get hurt!"
So we started cleaning.
Luckily, the walls were painted with a waterproofing paint so it wasn't too hard to clean them.
After about an hour the kitchen was spotless. Talking about cleaning ninjas!
I accepted them - how I could not to, unless I confessed my crime to her.
As I was feeling guilty about it, the following night I took Italian boss out for drinks (with his wife's money). We laughed about the tomato sauce accident so much, it hurt.
To date I still laugh every time I make tomato sauce. A funny thing to remember.
Anyways, at Circus Pizza they used to make pesto meatballs served in tomato sauce spooned over spaghetti.
Customers raved about it.
For real. They were that good.
This is my version of their recipe. A tad lighter, still delicious.
They are a far cry above the usual meatball (and you can thank the pesto for that), but don’t take much work beyond the usual meatball.
They are also lighter than the traditional beef variety and burst with a kick of pesto flavor, Parmesan, and paprika.
Served in a toothsome tomato sauce = awesomeness!
And you know what's even better? If you spoon them over pasta, or better yet, zoodles. You guys know me loves me some zoodles, right?
Note. You can use any pesto you want: basil pesto, kale pesto, avocado pesto, avocado-spinach pesto, etc.
1 lb / 453 gr ground turkey
4 tablespoons of pesto (any kind of pesto)
4 tablespoons almond meal (or GF breadcrumbs)
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups marinara sauce (make your own marinara sauce with this recipe)
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine ground turkey, pesto, almond meal (or breadcrumbs), grated Parmesan cheese, paprika, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper.
Scoop one heaping teaspoon (or one tablespoon for larger meatballs) of mixture and with dampened hands roll into balls.
Lightly grease with a drizzle of olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high and pan fry meatballs (in batches if necessary) until underside is golden. Turn them and cook until browned on both sides.
Pour in marinara sauce. Simmer on low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has reduced.
Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese, and serve!
One serving yields 368 calories, 20 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbs, and 30 grams of protein.