I acquired a spaghetti squash a few weeks ago and the girls were immediately fascinated. Spaghetti inside a squash? Could it be true?
Each night I pick them up, I ask them what they want for dinner and ever since the words "spaghetti squash" pinged onto their radar, Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs was the clear winner.
Finding a delicious low-fat meatball probably should have been a priority before creating this meal...In the end, my "fly by the seat of my pants" culinary approach worked to my advantage and once again reminded me that intuition and creativity beat out a recipe every time....at least for me.
I went to my recipe bible, America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook - BAD NEWS! The meatball page was missing! What the hell?! These 3-ring binder pages of this 848-page book are so thin and the most popular get torn occasionally. I'm pretty sure the meatball page also includes the fresh sauce section....crap.
Now what do I do? I pulled Mario Batali's Molto Italiano off the shelf - he has got to have a rock-solid meatball recipe in there somewhere. I modified his Neapolitan Meatball recipe to suite my needs. I love a cheesy meatball and the low-fat ground chicken I'm using is very lean, so the first thing I changed was to double the amount of shredded Pecorino Romano cheese.
Double Cheese Chicken Meatballs
3 cups day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound ground chicken/turkey
3 eggs, beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Pecorino Romano, grated
¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
½ cup saltine crackers, crushed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoon Penzeys smoked (any seasoned salt will work)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in enough water to cover. Remove the bread cubes and squeeze by hand to wring excess moisture.
In a large bowl, combine everything and mix by hand to incorporate bread into meat. It will be a little soupy so chill (covered) in the fridge for a few hours. I let mine sit overnight.
With wet hands, form the mixture into 12 to 15 meatballs, each of a size of a golf ball. Place on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven on 375 for 35 minutes.
Steamed Spaghetti Squash
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Wrap in one layer of saran wrap and cook in microwave for 7 minutes. Let sit to cool in microwave for 10 minutes. Remove with caution because it will still be really, really, really hot. Really. Remove wrap and use fork to pull out the string-like layers of squash.
Plate the squash, top with your favorite marinara (I used my 5-minute creamy marinara - recipe to follow in a few days). Top with some sliced meatballs and dust with some microplaned Pecorino Romano.
Sadie was the first to give it a try. The meatballs were so flavorful and moist! I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they turned out.
Lillie was skeptical of the spaghetti squash at first but loved the meatballs from the start. They were so full of flavor.
Another fun dinner with dad!
Big bite! Even Daddy has got to eat!
Sadie cleaned the plate. Finger lickin' good.