Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Zucchini Spaghetti with Meatballs

Last night for dinner I ate a can of black beans and half a MINI loaf of chocolate chip walnut banana bread.

Seeing that the banana bread was literally my dinner, I find no reason not to post that recipe on this blog in the future.  Currently, I'm a little hung up about the fact that it isn't very healthful.

Actually, that's a lie.  I fully intended to post the pictures of this awesome banana bread with the recipe this evening.  The idea was "Two Loaves," and it would have been matched with meatloaf for tonight. Cute in a pun way, but "meat and bananas" doesn't roll of the tongue quite right.

So I went with another idea I was flirting with, and I'm so glad Garrett convinced me to abandon "Two Loaves."  Granted, his logic was hugely flawed - he said he didn't feel in the mood for meatloaf despite the fact that the recipe would have had identical ingredients to this one.  "So you just prefer balls of meat to the loaf?"  

"Yeah."  Fine.
This zucchini spaghetti with meatballs was awesome, and healthy enough to make up for last night's misstep.

Meatball Mix (makes about 10-12 meatballs):
  • 1 lb. 94% lean ground beef (feel free to use chicken, turkey, or a more beef/pork combo)
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. fennel seed
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • pinch of allspice

Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 large diced tomatoes (I actually used a combination of three random types of tomatoes I had around, since I don't think it matters much)
  • 1 large can of whole, stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 cup stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 
  • 3-4 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
Of course, about one zucchini and/or yellow squash per person.  

In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and brown your entire chopped onion and both cloves of garlic, about 5 minutes.  As it browns, add the additional ingredients to the ground beef.  Remove half the onion from the pot and set aside to cool.

Dice up all your tomato and add to the pot with half the onion left.  Add some salt, pepper and the oregano and let cook down until all the tomatoes are soft and a bit pasty.  Add the white wine, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar while it continues to simmer on medium heat.

Heat a pan with a bit of olive oil.  Add the cooled half onion to the beef and mix by hand. Add to the pan and brown on all sides.  

To the sauce add the can of whole tomatoes, crushing them in your hands.  Add the juice in the can, as well.  Continue to simmer.  When your meatballs are browned on all sides (but not cooked completely through) add them to the sauce with a cup of stock.  Cover and let simmer about 15 minutes.

Now, if you have a mandoline, good for you.  If you have a julienner, then perhaps finally you can use it for something.  I don't have either because I just don't like gadgets that I only use occasionally.  So, I "spaghettied" the zucchini and squash by hand.  

Halve each length-wise, then lay it flat, and slice cross sections 1/8-1/4 inch thick by running a large, thin knife parallel to the board.  Then, stack and cut into strips.  Toss the spaghetti in a bowl with a splash of lemon juice and a little salt.

By the time that's said and done your meatballs are cooked and you can add the basil and olives and cook for a few remaining minutes.  Plate and enjoy.
Coming soon...

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