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Pasta Stars with Mini Turkey Pesto Meatballs

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  • Prep 20 min
  • Total 45 min
  • Servings 6
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Pretty little pasta stars and eensy-weensy turkey meatballs living happily ever after in a homemade tomato sauce.
by: Girl vs Dough
Updated Oct 21, 2014
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  • 6 ounces ground turkey
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 2 tablespoons Progresso™ Italian-style bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 (28 oz) can Muir Glen™ diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups uncooked star-shaped pasta
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • Snipped fresh basil, for topping


  • 1
    In a small bowl, combine ground turkey, pesto, breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roll mixture into about 28 to 30 small meatballs and transfer to a plate. Cover and chill while you make the tomato sauce.
  • 2
    Heat a teaspoon or so of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook until onion is translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute.
  • 3
    Add tomatoes (do not drain) and broth; stir to combine. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until carrot is tender, about 15 minutes.
  • 4
    Blend soup (either with an immersion blender or in a regular blender, in batches) until smooth. Cover and return to a simmer on the stove. Stir in pasta and meatballs. Simmer until pasta and meatballs are cooked through, about 12 minutes. Season pasta with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 5
    Serve pasta with grated Parmesan cheese and snipped basil on top.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • If you hate anything cute and delicious, I suggest you shield your eyes now.

    For the rest of you, LOOK! It’s Pasta Stars with Turkey Pesto Meatballs – a.k.a., teeny little star-shaped pasta with itsy-bitsy meatballs all living happily together in a homemade tomato sauce. Isn’t that just the cutest and most delicious thing you’ve ever seen?

    Aaaaanyway, this dish is a for-sure, slam-dunk crowd pleaser for everyone. Kids love it because the pasta is so tiny and a fun shape and, well, kid-friendly, and adults love it because it’s healthy but still flavorful (OK, they like the fun-shaped pasta, too). When you’re hankering for a good ol’ comfort food meal in the summertime, ladies and gentlefolk, this pasta is for you.

    Gather up the ingredients. I love using Muir Glen’s tomato products because the results are so fresh-tasting and flavorful, it doesn’t taste like it came from a can. Schwing!

    Combine the ground turkey, pesto, breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper in a large bowl. I use ground turkey because it’s light in flavor and healthier, but feel free to use chicken or beef, as well. They’re all going to taste like magic.

    Roll up the meat mixture into mini meatballs, then let them chill in the fridge while you move along.

    In a large saucepan, stir together some oil, chopped onion, carrot and celery until the onion is soft.

    Add the tomatoes and their juices and some vegetable broth, then let everything simmer until the carrot is soft.

    Next, use an immersion blender (or a regular blender, in batches) to blend the soup until it’s as smooth as can be.

    Finally, return the mixture to a simmer, stir in the pasta stars and meatballs and let everything simmer until the pasta is tender and the meat is cooked through. Try to restrain yourself from faceplanting into the food at this juncture.

    Finally, season the pasta with more salt and pepper as needed, then serve with some grated Parmesan cheese and fresh snipped basil.

    Now you may commence the faceplanting.


    Stephanie (aka Girl Versus Dough) is going back for seconds. OK, OK… thirds. Check out Stephanie’s Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!
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