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Twisting a Classic: Spaghetti (Squash) and Meatballs

12 Sep

As sacrilegious as it may sound, I don’t like pasta. I have never eaten it, even when I was a little kid. I don’t know if it’s the taste, flavor, texture or what, but I just don’t like it. Don’t get me wrong; if I am at someone’s home and that’s what they serve, I am eating it without a fuss. Do I go out of my way to make it at home? No, not for me. I do make it for Michelle and Sean, who both love pasta, but I make something else for myself. So when I decided I was making meatballs this week, I wanted to try something different. It was lucky that I had come across this recipe from Food Network recently to give me the inspiration.

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic

1 cup fresh parsley leaves

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

2 large eggs

1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 28-ounce cans tomato puree

2 large sprigs basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle the cut sides with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and then brush both sides with olive oil. Put the squash, cut side up, in a baking dish and cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for 20 minutes, then uncover the squash and continue roasting until the squash is tender, about 35 more minutes.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Pulse the celery, carrot, onion, garlic and parsley in a food processor to make a paste. Transfer half of the vegetable paste to a bowl; add the ground beef, ground pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix with your hands until it is just combined. Form the mixture into about 24 two-inch meatballs; transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet. Bake the meatballs until they are firm but not cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes.

To make the sauce, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining vegetable paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it looks dry, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree; rinse each can with 1 cup of water and add it to the pot. Stir in the basil, oregano and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then add the meatballs and simmer until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the basil.

Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash flesh into strands; transfer the squash to a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt to taste.  Divide the squash among plates or bowls and top each with some meatballs, sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

A couple of notes about this recipe. This particularly recipe makes a lot of sauce and meatballs, so you will have leftovers to store or freeze if you like. You can store the sauce and meatballs for up to a month in the freezer. You can always skip making the sauce and just use your favorite jarred sauce if you choose to go that route. I have tried multiple meatball recipes and posted several of them on here. This one is one of the more flavorful I have tried, so it’s worth a shot. Everyone really liked the spaghetti squash as an alternative. I thought Sean would resist, but he really liked it too. There is a great flavor from the squash and it goes well with the meatballs.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another recipe. I did make the lemon icebox pie, so you’ll want to check back for that one. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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1 Comment

Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Sauce, Vegetables

 

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One response to “Twisting a Classic: Spaghetti (Squash) and Meatballs

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