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Smirnoff Series: Bloody Mary Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

We’re back with a delicious Bloody Mary spaghetti with turkey meatballs recipe!

It’s an exciting time at Brookers of Blunty’s HQ.  We’ve both been working really extraordinarily hard this week, with Charles’ B&B being packed to the rafters and the utility room to get ready, and with me working lots of hours bussing other chefs’ food to many many customers and working on an assessment for a potential new paraplanning job in my time off.  It’s been pretty mad.  However, we’re picking up our puppy tomorrow morning so there’s light at the end of the tunnel!  Lots of tidying and puppy-proofing on the cards today.

I digress: back to why we’re having an exciting week!  Taste PR has been in touch with us to offer us samples of Diageo products which we can use to create recipes.  Of course, Charles jumped at the chance, as we’re always looking for new ideas for the blog, and to keep us inventive in the kitchen.  A couple of days later, we received a bottle of Smirnoff® vodka from the lovely people at Taste PR (although Charles did have to carry it all the way down the drive in the rain as it had been left with a neighbour) so we’ve been putting our heads together to come up with lots of simple recipes which use vodka in ways you wouldn’t expect. Charles got the ball rolling with a creamy beef stroganoff so expect that recipe coming your way soon, and we have big plans for some vodka based ice creams and ice lollies, so watch this space.

Let’s get into the recipe!  I’ve been really into turkey mince for awhile, so although Charles had made us delicious beef meatball subs a few nights before, he agreed to let me cook spaghetti and meatballs on Monday night, and I gave them a Smirnoff® twist with a Bloody Mary inspired sauce, instead of the usually marinara.  We’re talking celery (well, celery salt), tomato, Worcestershire sauce, vodka and Tobasco.  And it really does work with spaghetti.

In case you’re worried about putting alcohol in your meals, you should be aware that it’s completely up to you how little or how large a measure you sling into your Bloody Mary Sauce.  The addition of the vodka works twofold: firstly, by adding a couple of capfuls to the onions, when it still has plenty of time to cook out the alcohol, and later at the last minute to complete that Bloody Mary flavour, and that’s the step you can shrink, grow or leave out altogether.  The first step though is pretty important as the initial addition of the vodka isn’t for flavour, or for an alcoholic hit, but will emulsify your sauce to give you a beautifully silky consistency to the tomato sauce which really takes it up a notch, plus it helps the sauce to cling to the spaghetti.


Bloody Mary Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Bloody Mary Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs


    For the meatballs:
  • a pack of turkey thigh mince
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • squirt tomato ketchup
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 capfuls Smirnoff® vodka
  • 1 large carton or jar passata
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch sugar
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • dash Tobasco
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • a shot or two more of Smirnoff® vodka
  • spaghetti, or wholemeal spaghetti, to serve


  1. I like to start by chopping all the vegetables so that I only need to use one chopping board. If you then do your meat on the same board and stick it in the dishwasher or give it a very good hand wash you'll stay nice and hygienic. So slice up the onion and grate the garlic and onion.
  2. Start by making the meatballs. Chuck the mince in a large bowl then add the other seasonings and flavourings, including the sauces and grated garlic and ginger.
  3. Mix it all up really well with nice clean hands (I'm sorry, it's just the best way).
  4. Then roll it into small meatballs, trying to press each meatball together tightly as you go, as we're not adding any binding agents like eggs (they just taste better that way).
  5. Now, you can either set them aside and get your sauce going, or you can fry them off and then set them aside and use the meaty pan to fry your onions in. It's a successful strategy but I wanted to give my sauce plenty of time to get the flavours balanced so I used two separate pans (and ran out of room in the hob when I added the spaghetti and veg!).
  6. Anyway, to cook the meatballs, fry them off in a large frying pan until brown on each side in two batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. And try not to flip them around too much, as that will make them more likely to split and break apart. Don't worry about cooking them all the way through as they'll be finished off in the oven later.
  7. Set them aside on a tray lined with tin foil for the time being and preheat the oven to 180c.
  8. Now, on to the sauce.
  9. Add a touch more olive oil to the pan and make sure it's over a gentle medium heat. Add in the onions and let them cook until turning soft and translucent. If they're turning brown, turn the heat down.
  10. Add the garlic, ginger and tomato puree and cook those all out for a few minutes to help to mellow the flavours.
  11. Add the balsamic and let that reduce completely, and then repeat with the two capfuls of vodka.
  12. Now, you can add the passata.
  13. To make the chicken stock, I like to crumble the stock cube into the used passata container and pour in a little boiled water, stirring to dissolve. This is a two birds, one stone sort of situation as I always like to swill some water around in the empty carton to get all of the passata residue out and into the pan, but you could of course use a Knorr stock pot instead which will melt straight into the sauce.
  14. Add the herbs and spices, Worcestershire sauce and plenty of black pepper, and simmer on a low to medium heat for at least 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, turning the heat down if it's boiling too hard.
  15. With 15 minutes to go, get the spaghetti cooking in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, and stick the meatballs in the oven for the last 10 minutes.
  16. At the last minute, add some of the pasta water (thanks Nigella) to the sauce to loosen it and further improve its consistency, then add as much Tobasco and vodka as you dare.
  17. Add the meatballs to the sauce along with any cooking juice in the bottom of the tray, heat through and then serve with the spaghetti and some parmesan cheese.
  18. Buon appetito!
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Let us know what you think!  We’d also love to hear about any recipes you’ve come up with using vodka.

If you enjoyed the turkey meatballs, why not try some more of our turkey mince recipes, such as our Turkey Bolognese or Chilli Con Turkey?