Friday, July 16, 2010

Spaghetti with Vegetarian "Meatballs" and Spicy Red Sauce

My mom used to make the most amazing vegetarian "meatballs", which she called "wheatballs" while we were growing up. I used to love eating them with spaghetti, in sandwiches smothered with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, and even just plain as a snack :) However, that recipe called for deep frying, which I did not want to do. Fortunately, I found another recipe for baked vegetarian meatballs, which turned out just as delicious as the original recipe, if not more so. I served them with spaghetti and homemade red sauce for a vegatarian version of the classic spaghetti and meatballs, and we simply loved it. The meatballs were dense yet soft, and the crunch of the walnuts provided the perfect contrast. The tangy flavor from the sharp cheddar melded perfectly with the herbs and the heat from the red pepper. A. could not stop uttering "Mmm..." and "Aah..." between bites. She looked at me after just a couple of bites, "Ameya, you must make this again!" I have mentioned before that she is a rather picky eater, so the dish must be truly phenomenal for her to say that! I will certainly make these delicious "meatballs" again, although next time I will bake them with the sauce and serve them without the pasta so that I can eat more of them :) They'll also taste spectacular in sandwiches!

Vegetarian "Meatballs"(adapted from
1 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. dry basil
1/4 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix eggs, cheddar cheese and cottage cheese in a food processor until combined. Then, add onion, basil, oregano and salt. After, add in walnuts and pulse a couple of times until the walnuts are just coarsely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, and mix in the breadcrumbs. Form 8 balls of equal size, and place in a baking dish. Bake uncovered until a tester toothpick inserted in the center of one of the balls comes out clean, about 25 minutes.(See original recipe if you want to bake the meatballs with sauce).

Spicy Red Sauce:
4 fresh tomatoes, pureed
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp. dry basil
1 tsp. dry thyme
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Heat the oil in a pot. Saute the onion over medium heat until transluscent. Add the garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until it just begins to brown. Then lower the heat, and add the rosemary, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Then, add the fresh tomato puree, and cook over medium heat until the puree turns a deep red, about 2-3 minutes. Add the canned tomato sauce, and let the mixture come to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and sugar, taste, and adjust as needed. Add as many meatballs as you plan to serve into the simmering sauce, cover, and let the sauce continue to simmer for about 7-8 minutes. Spoon sauce over the meatballs periodically. Serve sauce and meatballs warm over spaghetti.

Yields 4 servings.


Anagha said...

Seriously, I LOVED the spaghetti and wheatballs. The sauce was sahhh good. I'd eat it all day any day.

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