Spaghetti and Meatballs

mattersofthebelly@gmail.com'By nohaserageldin  

November 5, 2015

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Everyone’s favorite comfort food gets a healthy makeover without compromising taste. By using fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs and served over whole-wheat spaghetti, you are getting all the flavor plus an extra dose of good-for-you fiber to keep that blood sugar level in check and you fuller for longer! Guaranteed to be a hit with adults and kids alike.
Servings: 5
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes

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Ingredients

For the Meatballs

2-3 slices whole-wheat toast (for breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 bunch of fresh basil, leaves finely chopped

1 tsp salt

500 g minced beef

2 tbsp olive oil

For the Sauce

1 large onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

800 g canned peeled tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or chili powder (optional)

1 tsp dried basil

salt & pepper to taste

To Serve

Cooked whole-wheat spaghetti

Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Make the breadcrumbs: Place the slices of bread in a food processor, blend until fine. Measure out ½ cup of breadcrumbs to use for the meatballs.

Make the meatballs: Place the ½ cup breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Pour over the milk and let the mixture stand for 2-3 minutes until the bread absorbs the liquid. Add the egg, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and salt and whisk everything with a fork to combine well. Add the beef mince and mix gently with a fork or your hands (hands are much better) just until everything is incorporated. Be careful not to overwork the mixture to avoid having tough meatballs.

Start rolling heaped tablespoons of the mixture into meatballs about 5cm wide. Do not compact the meatballs too much while rolling; just lightly apply pressure until the mixture comes together (packing the meatballs too tightly will also give you tough meatballs.) You should have around 20-22 meatballs in total.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is very hot, add your meatballs without overcrowding them. If they won’t fit comfortably all at once, cook them in two batches. Cook, moving them around every minute or so, until nicely browned all over, about 7-10 minutes. Remove them from the pot onto a plate and set aside.

Make the sauce: In the same pot, turn down the heat to medium-low. There should still be some fat leftover from the meatballs, but if there isn’t any then add just a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Add your onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook a further 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes with all their juices from the cans. Fill the cans halfway with water, swish around to collect any leftover juice and add that to the pot. Add the sugar, chili (if using), basil and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir, bring to a simmer and cook on low, partially covered for about 20 minutes.

Return the meatballs (with any juices accumulated in the plate), give them a stir and let them simmer in the sauce for a further 15-20 minutes. Test a meatball to ensure it is cooked through. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat and serve with cooked whole-wheat spaghetti, topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

Canned tomatoes can be found in any major supermarket. You will find them in either 400gram or 800gram tins. You can use either the whole peeled tomatoes and crush/chop them yourself or buy the ready chopped variety. Just make sure they are plain tomatoes, not flavored with any herbs or onions/garlic.

Noha Serageldin is a food blogger, freelance food stylist, food photographer and writer. She grew up and lived her entire life in Cairo, Egypt before moving with her husband to Sydney, Australia in 2013 where she currently resides. Though she studied art, Noha’s true passion lies with food and everything surrounding it, compelling her to attend culinary school and pursue a career in the wonderful world of food. You can connect with Noha at mattersofthebelly.com.

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