Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paleo "Spaghetti" and Italian Meatballs

I guess I have been on an Italian kick lately, since this was my 3rd Italian-inspired meal in the past few days.  And I won't apologize for it!  I decided to go with a classic, spaghetti and meatballs, but make it Paleo.  I also had bought a 5 lb spaghetti squash the other day at the grocery store (no joke, this thing is huge, but it was the smallest one they had!) so I needed to use some of that up for sure.  I cooked the entire spaghetti squash as usual, but only used about half of it for this meal.  If you are cooking for 2-3 people, you should definitely freeze half for future use! It makes it really quick and easy to defrost and use the next time.  For the meatballs, the only real change I had to make was again, essentially making my own Italian "bread crumbs" out of almond flour, like I did the other day with the Almond "Breaded" Chicken.  Other than that, they were the same Italian meatballs that I usually make.  Finally, I also made my own sauce as usual, which ensured that everything was non-processed and Paleo!  If you are looking for a good old Italian comfort food meal, this is definitely the way to go!  Here is what I did:

Paleo "Spaghetti" and Italian Meatballs
(makes about 3 servings)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 c onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/2 T fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • homemade pasta sauce (I also added some diced tomatoes for texture)
  • 1/2 spaghetti squash (cook the whole thing but you should only need half so freeze the rest!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice the spaghetti squash in half (lengthwise) and place the boat-looking halves on a baking/roasting pan, cut-side up.  Season them with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes.  In the meantime, start on your homemade pasta sauce.  Make your own or use my pasta/pizza sauce recipe- I also added some diced tomatoes for extra chunkiness, but you can use just sauce if you like it thinner. 

To make the meatballs, combine beef, onion, flour, egg, and spices and mush them all together until well blended.  Form your meatballs (I make mine medium-sized).  Heat a skillet over medium-high and add some olive oil.  Once it is hot, place your meatballs in there to brown them.  You will likely need multiple batches- don't crowd them!  After a few minutes, turn them to brown as much of the meatball as you can, then remove them to a baking dish.  When they are all browned, pop the dish into the 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, and remove your spaghetti squash. 

Allow your squash to cool for a few minutes so you can touch it without burning yourself, and then use a fork (or 2) to shred the flesh into "spaghetti" strands.  Plate it by scooping a pile of squash onto a plate, followed by a scoop of sauce and a couple meatballs.  Time to dig in!

This meal was super delicious and was a great transformation of a favorite Italian meal!  I highly recommend you try it out!

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