Spaghetti and meatballs! A delicious, warming dinner for a fall or winter night! (Quite honestly spaghetti and meatballs are great in the spring and summer, too!)
While this dish might sound like just a fun, kid-friendly meal (which it is), it's also a super healthy, nutritious meal! It's packed with tomatoes, which are now at the top of most "super foods" lists. Super foods are a class of foods known for having numerous health benefits, primarily their very high antioxidant content.
So whatever the season, you can tell your kids this isn't just ordinary spaghetti and meatballs, it's the kind with super powers!
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, marinated in oil
- 4 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 1 pound turkey mince
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided evenly into two bowls
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
- Salt, pepper, sugar
- 12 ounces spaghetti
Serves 6 to 8
Use a food processor to puree the sun-dried tomatoes with the garlic. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, divide into two bowls, and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons of cheese, one of the bowls of the sun-dried tomato mixture, and salt and pepper. Use your hands to form the mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on a plate.
In a large saute pan over low-medium heat, cook the remaining bowl of the sun-dried tomato mixture until aromatic, about five minutes. Add the tomato puree and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and continue to simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente — tender but still firm to bite. Drain the pasta and then return it to the pot. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of cheese.
Some additional notes:
The sweetness of the tomatoes makes this a huge hit with kids. However, for a more sophisticated version, before cooking the meatballs add 1 cup finely chopped, caramelized onion along with 1 bunch finely chopped, fresh basil and 1 tablespoon dried basil to the sauce.