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October 23, 2012

Old-Fashioned Spaghetti and Meatballs

“Thanks to the iron and protein from the beef, lycopene from the tomato sauce and energy-producing carbs from the pasta, this dish is a healthy trifecta. If you stick to modest portions and lean beef, you can enjoy its benefits without overdoing it. Limit yourself to three ounces of meat and a cup of cooked pasta per serving. Pump up the health benefits by using whole-wheat pasta and adding mushrooms to the meatballs to add fiber and cut fat.” —


Old-Fashioned Spaghetti and Meatballs
image and recipe from

Where we saved fat: stretched out the decadence of the beef by adding a portobello mushroom and using an egg white; we added fiber by using whole-wheat spaghetti.

1 slice whole-wheat sandwich bread, ground into coarse crumbs
8 ounces ground sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
1 portobello mushroom, stem removed and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 large egg white
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 small bunch fresh basil
3 sprigs fresh thyme
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
Parmesan, for serving, optional

Pulse the sandwich bread in a food processor to form coarse crumbs. Add the beef, 1/4 cup onion, mushroom, 1 Tablespoon garlic, parsley, and egg white; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg; pulse again to finely chop and combine. Portion into about 20 meatballs (about 1-inch in diameter) and place on a plate.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat; add the remaining garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and broth. Tie sprigs of basil and thyme together with kitchen twine; add to the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Add the meatballs and continue to simmer, without stirring, until the meatballs are partially cooked, about 10 minutes. Turn the meatballs; cook 10 minutes more or until fully cooked.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions in boiling salted water; serve the meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti.

Serves 4.

MF&L Staff at Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.


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