Monday, October 18, 2010

paleo spaghetti & meatballs

1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 large red or green bell pepper, finely diced
GARLIC, 5 good sized cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
salt & pepper
2 bay leaves
olive oil
tomato paste, 1-6 oz. can
2-28 oz. cans whole peeled San Marnzano tomatoes (obviously if you can't get San Marnzano, regular whole peeled tomatoes can be used, but the flavor of San Marzano tomatoes is one of a kind.)

1 pound GF ground beef
1 pound ground pork
3/4 cup of almond flour
2 eggs

1 medium to large spaghetti squash

first preheat your oven to 350 degrees. put the whole squash, clean and uncut, into a glass baking pan. bake this for about an hour. time will depend on what size the squash is. it will darken in color and the skin will get puffy when it's done.

spaghetti squash looking very lonely in the oven...

next, preheat a deep pot to medium-highish heat, and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. when it gets up to temperature, add the onions and peppers. i had 2.5 small bell peppers in the fridge and used those, but 1 large or 2 medium would work here. let these saute for a few minutes. in the meantime, chop your garlic!

once the peppers and onions have started to soften and become translucent (about 5-7 minutes) add in your garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, red pepper flake and thyme. let this cook for an additional 3 or 4 minutes.

remove about 1 cup of the pepper and onion mixture and place into a glass bowl to cool. this is the start of your meatballs. back to the pot, add the tomato paste and the whole peeled tomatoes. when i added the whole tomatoes, i crushed each on over the pot in my hand. this still keeps the sauce nice and chunky, but not with WHOLE tomatoes floating around in there.

once the onion and pepper mixture has cooled completely, add the beef, pork, almond flour, 2 eggs and salt and pepper. with your hands, mix everything until it comes together. don't be too rough with it, be as gentle as you can or the meatballs will become tough when you cook them.

form the meatballs and place on a baking sheet. remember, you're making meatballs not snowballs. be gentle! i should have use my silpat to prevent the sticking. parchment paper would also work.

yes, i know they are ghastly over sized... get over it.
bake these for 25-30 minutes or until no longer pink in the middle.

when your squash is done, remove it from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. cut it in half, lengthwise and remove the seeds. then, with a fork, scrape out the "spaghetti strands" and place back into the glass pan. i seasoned the squash with salt and pepper, covered it with foil and kept it warm in a super low oven until it was time to eat.

call me crazy, but this was an AMAZING alternative to real pasta. the consistency was spot on!


Frank Hagan said...

Looks fantastic, Kerri. I was looking for more on how to prepare a spaghetti squash; pasta is one of the few things I do miss after nearly 2 years on low carb eating!

I added your site to my low carb news aggregator ... we excerpt just the beginning of the blog post and link to your site so people come here for the rest of the post. Let me know if you want to be removed from it (its designed to drive traffic to your site rather than take away from it, so most people like the idea!)

Kerri Heffel said...

that's great, Frank! thanks for the support!

Rani said...

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash
From Laura Dolson,
There are Many Ways to Cook Spaghetti Squash
Did you know that a cup of regular spaghetti has 40 grams of usable carbohydrate (and 220 calories), whereas a cup of spaghetti squash has only 8 grams of usable carb and 42 calories? Plus, that cup of spaghetti squash is much more "nutrient dense", containing more of most vitamins and minerals than the spaghetti
You’ve heard spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta, and
you’ve lugged one home from the store. Now what do you do?
Just about any way you can think of to apply heat can be used to cook spaghetti squash. The big question is: to cut or not to cut before cooking? You can do it either way – here are the pros and cons of each.
Cutting Up Spaghetti Squash
Advantages to cutting the spaghetti squash up before cooking: It cooks faster.
Disadvantages: Like any winter squash, hacking it up takes muscle and a sharp knife or cleaver. It’s also a bit more work to scrape out the seeds and pulp when they are raw.
Method: Just get in there and cut it in half (lengthwise) or quarters. You don’t want to cut it up too small unless you want short strands.
Scrape out the seeds and pulp as you would with any squash or pumpkin.
Bake rind side up about 30-40 minutes at 375 F.
Microwave 6-8 minutes (let stand for a few minutes afterwards)
Boil 20 minutes or so.
Separate strands by running a fork through in the “from stem to stern” direction.
Cooking Spaghetti Squash Whole
Advantages to cooking the squash whole: It’s easier.
Disadvantages: It takes longer to cook, and you need to watch out for burns when removing the pulp and seeds.
Method: Pierce the squash several times with a sharp knife. (Do this especially if you’re microwaving it, or you may end up with a “Squash Explosion”.)
Bake about an hour in the oven at 375 F
Microwave 10-12 minutes, then let stand for 5 minutes or so afterwards to finish steaming.
Boil for half an hour or so.
Slow Cooker/Crock Pot: Put it in with a cup of water and let it go on
low all day (8-10 hours).
When done, cut open “at the equator”, remove seeds and pulp (I use tongs and an oven mitt - it is HOT) and separate strands with a fork.
Spaghettii Squash Storage Tip
Like pumpkin and other winter squashes, whole uncooked spaghetti squash is best stored between 50 and 60 degrees, and will last up to six months this way.
If you have a room in your home that isn’t well-heated, maybe you can use some space in it as a “root cellar” to store onions, squash, apples, and the like. Our guest room often has vegetables on the bed in the cooler months of the year.
On the other hand, spaghetti squash will keep several weeks at room temperature.