Spaghetti with Roasted Meatballs and Roasted Tomato Sauce - Easy

 I want to take a break from all the candy recipes post a dinner suggestion instead ... meatballs!  Nothing says comfort food like spaghetti and meatballs.   Especially on a  yucky, kinda lukewarm and humid rainy day, such as today.  Not so hot that turning on the oven will roast the entire house, but not so cold that you need  a real substantial hot meal.  Today practically screams for spaghetti and meatballs.

Spaghetti is spaghetti.  Use regular spaghetti, or use thin spaghetti (spaghettini, in case you buy pretentious pasta).  I like thin spaghetti because it fools me into thinking that there's more pasta in the box.  Which there is, if you go by the number of strands in the package.

These meatballs are a little different than what I've made in the past.  This time the secret ingredient is ... ricotta!  Or, to be more accurate, parve (non-dairy) ricotta.  I previously used it to make a non-dairy cheesecake, and when I spotted a recipe for meatballs that uses real ricotta in its meatballs I thought about how pretty good the pretend ricotta was, so I thought I'd have a go at it here.

Normally I use a mixture of ground beef with an other, other white meat such as ground chicken, turkey or veal, depending upon what's available at the local Try-n-Save.  This recipe insisted that the addition of ricotta gives it a "unique light texture" so I just went with all beef.

The slight changes I did make were pretty much due to the restrictions of what was residing in my pantry.  For example, panko crumbs (with a little water mixed in to plump 'em up) replaced the bread crumbs.  Fennel was omitted because I didn't have any.  Dried parsley because I bought it as decorative garnish for something and wanted to use it up.  And garlic ... because I like garlic.

I asked the crew how was dinner.  YoungerSon thought that there was too much bread crumbs.  TheHubby said it was "nice." Ignoring all this high praise, I pressed on, asking if the recipe's a keeper, to which theHubby finally admitted so with a firm, "YES!" 

Spagetti with Roasted Meatballs and Roasted Tomato Sauce - Easy
Adapted from Epicurious
Yield: 6 servings

1 (12-16 oz.) package spaghetti
1 Tbl. olive oil, divided
1 lb. 80% lean ground beef
1/2 cup parve ricotta cheese
1 large eggs
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup water
2 Tbl. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (with a little extra crushing between your fingers)
4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
1 tsp. chopped garlic (1 large clove)

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Coat a medium-sized rimmed baking dish with two teaspoons of the olive oil. Set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients except marinara sauce and garlic in a large mixing bowl; use your (hopefully) hands to mix everything together.

My baking pan was a little too large.

 Roll mixture into meatballs about 1 inch in diameter. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish,  in rows to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.

Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and cooked through.

While the meatballs are baking, heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic, and saute constantly for 30 seconds.  Add the marinara sauce and heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to bubble.  Remove from heat; cover and keep warm.

The meatballs are under there.  I promise.

When meatballs are fully cooked, remove pan from oven; carefully drain off grease. Pour warmed sauce over meatballs. Return pan to the oven and continue roasting for another 15 minutes.

Divide spaghetti into 6 pasta bowls.  Ladle around 4 meatballs and sauce over each serving.  Serve hot.


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