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Spaghetti and Meatballs {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free}

Earlier in the summer, Brian and Jakey embarked on a culinary adventure of their own - to find the best spaghetti and meatballs on the peninsula. I offered to be the last stop. La Cucinotta di Camilla. Last night was my night.

I initially planned to make everything from scratch, but I had stripped the gears on my pasta maker earlier but, my new one didn't show up until two hours after they left. Boo. I guess that means that I'll have to have them over for another round. Soon.

Let's just start with this, though: 'spaghetti and meatballs' is not an authentic Italian dish. Spaghetti would be served as a primi piatti while polpetttine would be served as a secondi piatti. So, yes to spaghetti and meatballs being Italian...just not served together. That said, it's a favorite dish on our table and obviously is with the Garneaus as well. I did have to adapt the recipe so it would be gluten-free and dairy-free for my Jake.

Ingredients makes 2 dozen golf ball-sized meatballs
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 4 C fresh spinach, blanched, squeezed dry, and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C finely grated Parmesan (or dairy-free parmesan cheese topping)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 T fresh basil, minced
  • 1 T fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 t fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika
  • 1/2 C gluten-free bread crumbs, divided in half
  • homemade tomato sauce
  • spaghetti (I did one batch of gluten-free for Jake and regular for everyone else)
  • finely grated Parmesan (or dairy-free parmesan cheese topping) for serving

In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, beef, spinach, garlic, cheese, egg, fresh herbs salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and 1/4 C bread crumbs. Use your hands to mix all ingredients until well-combined. refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours, if you can.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the remaining bread crumbs into a small bowl. Use your hands to shape the meatballs into rounds*, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes - until golden and cooked through.

While the meatballs roast, heat your homemade sauce and cook the pasta. To serve, toss spaghetti in as much as you like. Roll the meatballs in the remaining sauce and spoon on top of the pasta. Serve immediately with cheese on the side.

*I made my meatballs golf-ball sized. If you make them smaller, or larger, adjust your time as needed. I've found that meatball preferences are very, very different!

No verdict yet on how my spaghetti and meatballs stacked up to seven local restaurants who have it on their regular dinner menus. Brian and Jakey said they would complete their spreadsheet and let me know. They did talk about how they rated the restaurants and, so far, they thought that Gusto Handcrafted Pizza and Pasta had the best pasta while Il Vecchio had the best meatballs, I think. I will at least win on the 'best value' considering La Cucinotta di Camilla was free. And I will also win in the dessert category since I made Brian's favorite - rhubarb pie. Jenn told me that I was cheating and swaying them with my rhubarb pie. I consider it creating a strategic advantage; it's not cheating!


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