This meatball and spaghetti dish is a lightened version of the classic Italian meal we all love!
Pasta is something my whole family readily enjoys. I only get grumblings when I serve it with either a cheesy sauce or a tomato sauce. In other words, my kids like it PLAIN (where they get their taste is beyond me). I’ll compromise on the cheese sauces, who needs the extra fat anyway. But I won’t budge on the tomato sauce. My daughters have slowly come around to appreciate my red sauces, it’s just my son who remains stubborn.
Last weekend we were invited to our neighbor’s house for dinner. She served us some of the best meatballs! She had warned me in advance that she would be serving this meal and asked if it would be ok with my son. I went on to tell her that he would be fine, he would just have to get over himself and eat whatever was served. Wouldn’t you know he devoured two helpings without a word? That’s when the reality hit me, it’s not that he doesn’t like meatballs and spaghetti, he just doesn’t like MY meatballs and spaghetti. At first I was miffed. But then I had to admit that my sauce is a little too “chunky” and my meatballs are usually dry.
When I was given a copy of Cooking Light’s Lighten Up, America Cookbook, the first recipe I knew I had to try was meatballs and spaghetti! While the sauce is jarred, the meatballs are homemade and they are so easy! The combination of ground pork and ground beef really make these meatballs hearty and flavorful! They are tender and light too. The only modifications I made to the recipe in the book was I used a full pound of each meat and two slices of bread. Everything else is the same and boy are these a real pleaser! My entire family had seconds, including my red-sauce hating son! This recipe is a total keeper!
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups minced onion
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 cups low sodium marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregeno
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup ground sirloin
- 3/4 cup ground pork
- 1 (1/5 oz) slice firm white bread, crumbled
- 8 oz uncooked spaghetti
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to the pan. Stir in onion. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook another 15 minutes or until onion is tender. Add 1/4 cup water and stir to loosen any browned bites. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes.
- Place marinara in a large Dutch oven. Bring to simmer over low heat.
- In a bowl, combine onions, basil and the next 6 ingredients (through the egg). Add ground sirloin and pork as well as crumbled bread. Gently mix by hand. Shape meat into 2 inch balls. Place meatballs into your sauce. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or until meatballs are done.
- While the meatballs simmer, prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Serve meatballs and sauce over pasta.