Turkey and Leek Meatballs with Tomato Tagliatelle by Ren Behan

This super simple recipe from Ren Behan is sure to be a family pleaser. It’s so easy to make using turkey mince which is very lean and great value for money. She has added Grano Padano cheese into the meatballs for extra flavour, but you can substitute any cheese you have to hand. Same with the leeks, feel free to use an onion or shallots instead of leeks if you don’t have any in your pantry.

Kids in the Kitchen

Cheese – Get your little helper to grate the cheese for you, this can be done with a hand grater or if you wanted to grate a large quantity to use some for this recipe and for another day, use your food processor grating facility. Kids can cut the cheese to the correct size to fit in the top, place the top on and turn the wheel to grate.

Rolling the Meatballs – Let’s be honest, this is likely to be pretty messy, but let the kids have a go, they can make different shapes with the meat mixture, tubes, ovals, eharts or patties. Just make sure you all have a good 20 second hand wash afterwards!

Recipe Courtesy of Ren Behan author of Wild Honey and Rye

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cooking Time: 20

Difficulty: Easy



  • Olive oil
  • 1 large leek, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 500 g turkey mince (thigh or breast)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices bread (stale bread is best)
  • ½ cup water
  • 50 g Grano Padano cheesegrated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 500 g fresh or dried tagliatelle pasta
  • 350 g (one pot) tomato and basil sauce

Cooking Method

  1. Fry the leeks in a tablespoon of olive oil for a couple of minutes until soft. Grate in the garlic clove, stir well, set to one side.
  2. Take a large bowl and add the turkey mince, the egg and the leeks and garlic. Soak the slices of bread in water and add that to the mince, breaking it up a little with your hands. Add in the grated Grano Padano cheese and a good twist of salt and pepper. Mix everything together really well – best to do this with your (clean) hands.
  3. Using wet hands or an ice-cream scoop, make golf-sized balls. Place them on a flat chopping board while you make the rest.
  4. Heat another couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the meatballs, turning them around until they are nice and golden all over. You might need to do this in a couple of batches.

Turkey and Leek Meatballs by Ren Behan

  1. In the meantime, take a large pan of salted water on to boil and cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Put all the cooked meatballs back into the pan and pour over the tomato sauce, turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  3. When ready, mix the meatballs and sauce with the tagliatelle and serve.



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