Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Recipe-Spaghetti and Eggplant "Meatballs" with fresh tomato sauce

Active time: 45 mins
Total time: 1:45

I tend to double the "meatball" and sauce recipe and save the extra.  I jar the sauce and freeze the extra balls.

For the Eggplant "meatballs":
3 large eggplants, roasted until soft.  (Tip: This can be done up to a day ahead) Preheat oven to 400 and lightly grease two baking sheets with olive oil.  Poke the whole eggplant with a fork several time.  Bake for one hour until completely softened. Then slice in half, and spoon out the flesh.  Discard the skins.  Roughly chop the flesh in a large bowl and set aside).

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic sliced, I used the frozen pre-minced cubes from Trader Joes
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons of yellow miso (it's so good for you and it's found in the refrigerated section near the tofu)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or brown rice bread crumbs
1 tablespoon italian seasoning (oregano, rosemary, etc)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
1 tablespoon olive oil

You could also double the meatball recipe and then freeze them to recreate this dish much faster next time :-)

For the sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
pinch of salt
8 medium tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

For serving:
16 oz of whole wheat or brown rice spaghetti
Chopped basil and Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and grease two baking sheets with olive oil
2. Place the onion, garlic and walnuts in a food processor and process until very finely chopped.  Add the miso and process again to form a paste.
3. Add the onion mixture to the eggplant, along with the breadcrumbs, seasoning and salt. Use a fork or your hands to mix until combined.  If necessary, add more breadcrumbs by the spoonful until you reach a slightly sticky consistency.  Fold in the basil.
4.   Form the mixture into golf size balls and place on baking sheet.  Use pastry brush to brush tops with olive oil.  Bake for 35 minutes, until slightly browned and springs back when you press it.
5. While the eggplant balls bake, make the sauce.  In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and pinch of salt and saute for 5-7 mins, until soft.  Add tomatoes and another pinch of salt.  Turn down the heat and bring to a low simmer for 15-20 mins.  Add the basil and keep the sauce warm over low heat until ready to use.
6. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to package directions. 
7.  When each item is done, serve spaghetti topped with sauce and meatballs.  Top with basil and Parmesan cheese. 

If you have left overs, you can store the extra meatballs by freezing them or in a separate container.  Combine the leftover pasta with the leftover sauce and store together.  The flavors really meld together and make WONDERFUL leftovers! 

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