Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Italian Meatballs

i mentioned meatballs in my thursday video last week. i know, it sounds weird, but i really was thankful for meatballs last week. here's the rub. i made a huge batch of meatballs last week. i used 3 lbs of meat (ground turkey, bison, and pork) and made over 50 meatballs. the fabulous thing about them is their versatility! i have already made them two different ways and have a third incarnation rolling around in my head.

i will post the sweet and sour meatballs recipe as well as the asian-syle i am still concocting, but perhaps the most classic way is italian style. you can certainly make these with the basic meatball recipe i have below, but i like to take 1/3 of the basic mix and add a couple things to it. just some various cheeses and garlic but i think the extras give them the added boost they need.

i used E's favorite jarred pasta sauce - classico's four cheese (when three different cheeses just won't cut it) and some spaghetti squash instead of the traditional spaghetti. i thought it was excellent but i haven't yet met a squash i haven't liked. i did make leftovers with regular spaghetti and it was just as good. (cooking spaghetti squash is super easy, just slice in half horizontally, spoon out seeds, and roast cut side down at 375 degrees for 45 minutes until tender. let cool and flake into "noodles" with a fork)

do yourself a favor a make this big batch of meatballs, they freeze beautifully and you will have some all ready to go when you need them. they make great weeknight meals and if you make them small, they are the perfect size for quick appetizers too - just add a toothpick!

Classic Meatballs

1 lb lean ground bison or beef
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground pork
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend

optional italian additions:
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/8 cup favorite tomato sauce
1/8 cup shredded italian cheese (i used a mix of provolone, asiago, mozzarella, and parmesan)

preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

in a large bowl, mix everything together with your hands until well mixed but not over-worked. remove 1/3 of mixture and add italian additions if desired. of course, you can make the whole batch italian by adding 3x the amount of additions.

form meatballs a little smallet than golf ball size and place an inch apart on a foil lined, greased, baking sheet. bake for 15-20 minutes. remove from oven and let cool completely before freezing or storing in fridge. if using immediately, drop meatballs into sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes.

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