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So the amusing thing is that I just looked up this recipe to share it, and Bravo has already changed several of the things we marked to change for the next time we made it.  Our original recipe didn’t include any oil in the pesto which we ended up adding, but you can see our sauce was more paste like than sauce.  I have adapted a hybrid approach between the sauce they have on the website and the sauce as we adjusted it, so this recipe could potentially be tweaked again.

My mom, Corrie, and I all love Top Chef, so we’ve all made and enjoyed eating this dish!

  • 1/ 2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/ 2 pound ground pork
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon red pepper chile flakes
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
Veggies & Pasta:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, each cut in half
  • 1 packed cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1/ 2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/ 2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach leaves, plus more as needed
  • 1/ 2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

MEATBALLS:  In a large bowl, stir together all the meatball ingredients except the oil and form into meatballs about 3⁄4 inch in diameter.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking and cook the meatballs, in batches, turning them as they cook, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add more oil to the skillet with new batches as necessary. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack to drain. Set aside.

VEGETABLES AND PASTA: In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, carrots, and artichokes and sauté until softened but al dente, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute, or until just wilted. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook orecchiette pasta according to the manufacturer’s directions until al dente.

PESTO:  In a food processor, add the garlic, almonds, spinach, cheese, lemon juice, wine, and salt and pepper to taste and puree. Drizzle in olive oil while food processor is running until it just turns into a sauce from a paste.  Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble the dish.

Add the orecchiette and meatballs to the vegetables and stir to combine. Add enough pesto to coat, then heat to warm through. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Bravo’s Top Chef