Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

Thanks to foodnetwork.com for this one! I think spaghetti squash is one of the most artistic vegetables that God put on this earth. I'm serious, I think they're incredible how they're made and almost like magical how you can cut a spaghetti squash in half, take out the seeds, and it has this hard hollow inside flesh. BUT, after it cooks in the oven, you just take a fork, and lightly scrape the inside flesh out and it becomes like noodles!! IT'S SO COOL. It's tasty, so versatile, and little do you know...you're even getting in a full vegetable serving when you eat it too. I'd say that's a win-win-win in my book. 

Although spaghetti squash does contain carbohydrates because it's still a vegetable, and vegetables still contain carbs, especially starchy vegetables, it's still a lot lower in carbs than your average bowl of regular pasta. It's a great substitute for pasta if you have to watch your carbohydrate intake without missing too much. I like spaghetti squash as much, if not more than regular pasta anyways! It's wonderful and you can make so many different kinds of dishes with it. There are loads of recipes all over the Internet, so I'd suggest you go explore some websites for a good lookin' recipe and try spaghetti squash out sometime. 

These meatballs were also spot on. Best meatballs I have ever made. Hands down. The mixture of ground beef and ground pork was perfect. I used both 90% lean ground beef and pork to cut the fat a little bit from other kinds of ground meat. The flavor was still a 10/10.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium spaghetti squashes
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (I think we used like 2 cups total...we like cheese...never too much)
  • 2 28 - ounce cans tomato puree (or 1 can tomato puree and 1 can crushed tomatoes)
  • 1-2 handfuls of basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Halve the spaghetti squashes lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Spray the cut sides with olive oil spray and sprinkle the cut sides with some salt. Put the squash (cut-side up) in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Roast for 20 minutes, then uncover and continue roasting until the squash is tender, about 35 more minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray. Pulse the celery, carrot, onion, garlic and parsley in a food processor to make a paste. Transfer half of the vegetable paste to a bowl; add the ground beef, ground pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, 1 cup parmesan and 1 teaspoon salt and mix with your hands until just combined. Form into meatballs about 1 1/2 inches wide; transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until firm but not cooked through, about 9-10 minutes.
  3. Make the sauce: Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining vegetable paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it looks dry, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and/or crushed tomatoes; rinse each can with 1 cup water and add to the pot. Stir in the basil, oregano and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, then add the meatballs and simmer until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  4. Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash flesh into strands; transfer to a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan. Season with salt. Divide the squash among bowls and top each with some meatballs, sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon parmesan.

This recipe makes extra sauce and meatballs. Let cool completely, then freeze in a storage container for up to one month.