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Spaghetti and Meatballs

From the book Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen: 200 Easy Recipes for Healthy Weight Loss by Kathleen Daelemans

Of course we have a recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. This isn't the do-without, make your family miserable, have-no-fun, weight-loss cookbook! If you're going to take the time to make these super delicious, super moist meatballs, make at least a quadruple batch. They freeze well. And next time you're craving spaghetti and meatballs, all you'll have to do is boil noodles if you have been paying attention and you have ready-to-go microwave tomato sauce [also in this book] in your freezer too.

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs

  • 2 slices bread, crusts discarded
  • 6 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Coarse-grained salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 pound lean ground sirloin

For the Pasta Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • One 28-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse-grained salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves (about 20 leaves)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the Meatballs: Combine bread and yogurt in bowl you'll make meatballs in. Let stand 10 minutes to soften. In medium sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon of water, and garlic (for both the meatballs and the sauce) over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside. Mash bread and yogurt. Add 1 teaspoon of the cooked garlic (reserving the rest for the sauce), the parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and egg whites to bread mixture; mix until well combined. Add ground sirloin. Mix thoroughly. Shape into meatballs.
  2. Prepare the Sauce: In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, place reserved sautéed garlic with tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a simmer. Stir in salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce has slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes or longer, depending on how juicy your tomatoes were to begin with. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Cook the Meatballs and Boil the Pasta: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs to pan and cook, turning often, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  4. While meatballs are browning and sauce is reducing, cook pasta, following package directions, in plenty of salted boiling water to al dente (firm to the bite). Drain. When meatballs are browned, drain on plate lined with paper towels to remove excess fat. Add meatballs to pot with sauce.
  5. Cook until meatballs are completely cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes more. Add fresh basil and cook 1 minute more. Pour sauce and meatballs over cooked spaghetti and serve immediately. Ideally, the spaghetti should not sit around -- it should be cooked last and served right away.

Shortcut Chef: If you don't have pasta sauce in your freezer by now, I'm sure you have frozen meatballs from the last time you made this. Right? I'm trying to make your life easy -- work with me, people.

Sauté the garlic for the meatballs and spaghetti sauce at the same time using the pot you'll prepare the sauce in. Make the sauce ahead, make the meatballs ahead, and cook the noodles a little earlier if it will make things easier.

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