Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pasta & Italian Meatballs

*This is a reposting of a previous recipe from 2011, I lightened it up a bit and calculated the calories*

There's absolutely no way you could see these pictures without a little drool dribbling down your chin. Or is that just me? I'll own it, because this dish is divine. I highly recommend not using Bucatini noodles, and instead using spaghetti or angel hair pasta. In fact, given the fact that I am gluten free most days I would substitute quinoa spaghetti pasta for the noodles and call it a day. I would also, sadly, pass on the white bread. Anyway the Bucatini noodles look great and I remember thinking they would absorb the sauce well, but they were chewy and disappointing. Since these pictures I have made the dish using spaghetti or angel hair pasta and we have enjoyed it more that way.

Italian Marinara
    yields about 3 cups of sauce
  • 28 ounce can diced San Marzano tomatoes (about 260 calories)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced White Onion (16 calories)
  • 2 cloves minced Garlic (8 calories)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste (20 calories)
  • 2 tbsp fresh Basil, chopped (1.4 calories)
  • 1 tbsp Grape Seed Oil or Olive Oil (120 calories)
  • S&P to taste
  • Optional: pinch dried red pepper flakes
 Italian Style Meatballs
     yields about 10-12 medium/large sized meatballs, or 20 small meatballs
  • 1/2 lb. 95% lean ground Beef (300 calories)
  • 1/2 lb. 95% lean ground Pork (300 calories)
  • 1 large Egg (70 calories)
  • 5 sprigs of Parsley, finely chopped (1.8 calories)
  • 1/4 cup ground Flax Meal (120 calories)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (100 calories)
  • Garlic Powder, to taste (optional, we love garlic!) 
  • S&P to taste
  • 1/4 cup of Canola Oil to fry the meatballs, or canned cooking oil spray (hard to calculate these calories since not all of the oil absorbs into the meat while it cooks)
    • 1 lb. cooked pasta of your choice, I suggest Spaghetti (1600 calories) OR sub spaghetti squash! 
    • fresh parsley and cheese to garnish
    • dollop of low fat ricotta cheese, optional and tasty
    Preparation & Cooking Instructions

    First things first you need to start the sauce. Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Sauté the onion until tender, then add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for one minute. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer the sauce while you prep your meatballs.

      Prep all of your meatball ingredients so they're pre-measured, then throw everything into the bowl. Mix using one hand so you can secure the bowl with the other. Once the ingredients are mixed up form a tiny patty and quick fry it, just to taste for salt, pepper, and garlic. If the mixture seems too wet sprinkle in additional flax meal and parmesan cheese until it's perfect. When the mixture is to your liking go ahead and fill a large skillet with about a 1/4 inch of canola oil, or use a spray oil to save calories. Quick fry the meatballs until they are golden brown, I did this in batches and when once batch was ready I immediately placed it in the sauce I had simmering. Simmer the meatballs on low heat for a couple of hours, either on the stove top or in a crock pot, to cook them through.

      To cook the pasta bring a pot of water (4 quarts of water to a pound of pasta) to a rapid boil and salt. Boil to your preference, I prefer al dente with a lot of bite. Drain the pasta and stir in enough sauce and toss to thoroughly coat the pasta. Serve the meatballs alongside your sauced pasta and garnish with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese. Reserve additional sauce so your friends and family can sauce the pasta to their liking. Enjoy!

    (You can see I made huge meatballs for this batch!)

    It's safe to say this recipe can serve 6-8 people. Ideally the pasta should be coated in the sauce but not drenched. The star of the show is really the meatballs, and I can only eat 1 medium or 2 small ones. For the sake of not being a little piggy I'll say 8 servings, 2 ounces pasta per person. Per serving you're looking at about: 254 calories for the pasta and sauce, and an additional 45 calories for each small meatball! I'd say If I ate a plate of this I would have to reserve about 400 calories to include extra Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. And I would need wine. Lots of wine.

      Another great thing about this recipe is the carb count. Yes, the pasta is high. However, there is only ONE carb for the entire batch of meatballs. Skipping breadcrumbs or torn white bread and using flax meal and cheese makes the carb count virtually nonexistent.


    Joanne (eats well with others) said...

    I most certainly want to dive into that pasta!!

    Healthy & Homemade said...

    Oh my goodness Joanne, you're telling me. I'm so glad my husband eats a lot or else I'd be in trouble. I want to try this out with spaghetti squash, never hurts to skip the pasta =/ My gut will thank me.