Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lightened Up Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Meatballs

Attempting to slim down a classic!

I'm always trying to figure out how to cut the fat and calories from some of my favorite foods, without compromising the flavor. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's not. This seems like an easy one, but there are a lot of extra steps to take and therefore it takes a little more time. If I were to just fry everything, like in the classic way of cooking sausage and meatballs, it would have taken a lot less time. But I was determined and did it anyway.

You will need an oven safe saucepan. I used the same saucepan to bake the meatballs and sausage, as to make the sauce. The reason: to get all of the caramelized drippings from the meat incorporated into the tomato sauce just as you would if you were to fry them. (note: be very careful when making the tomato sauce because the pan will be very hot. Keep an oven mit on the handle to remind yourself that it was in the oven. Take it from me. I did burn myself because I forgot.)

Like I said before this recipe is a little more time consuming, but
the result was very good. I guess good things DO come to those who wait!

Tomato Sauce (Gravy)

9 meatballs
4 sausage links and/or spare ribs
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 28-ounce can pureed plum tomatoes (I used Pastene kitchen ready)
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, tomatoes squeezed and hard pieces and skin removed
28 ounces water (use the tomato can & clean out any remaining tomatoes)
2 small bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh basil leaves, one intact and one minced
Salt and pepper to taste

First prepare meatballs and sausage links...

Turkey Meatballs (My own recipe)
1/2 lb. Ground Turkey (I used 93%)
1 slice stale Italian bread or sliced white bread, crusted removed
2 tbls. milk or water
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup fresh parsley, minced
4-5 fresh basil leaves, minced
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk. Combine all ingredients except ground turkey in a large bowl and mix well. Add in turkey and gently work the mixture with your hands until evenly combined. Do not over mix.

Roll the turkey into 9 same size balls. Place in an oven safe large pot, sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, turning several times. Remove from pot and set aside. (At this point, the meatballs may also be cooled and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use.)

Poke the sausage links with a skewer on all sides several times. Using the same oven safe pot used to cook the meatballs, add in the sausage links and cook for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, turning several times. Remove the sausage and wipe out the pot with paper towels.

Start the Tomato Sauce...

Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the same saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until slightly caramelized. Add all the meat and stir to combine. Add all of the tomatoes and water. Add the bay leaves and the intact basil sprig. Bring the sauce to a simmer and lower the heat. Cover the pot loosely and simmer for 1 hour. Sprinkle with remaining chopped basil and correct seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. I also like to drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the top to finish it off.

Use the sauce to dress the spaghetti or any pasta and serve the meat, with some of the sauce, as an entrée.


Emily said...

Sounds mighty tasty. And healthy.

I can't seem to convince my parents that homemade sauce is MUCH better than the jarred kind. They always used jarred sauce. It's ok, but usually pretty watery.

Anonymous said...

the sauce was delicious and the all dish was very very good,bambola

Annie said...

Emiline, I guess you will have to prove it to them. Cook up a batch, it's really easy and you just can't beat it!

Bambola, Thanks, that makes me feel good coming from a pro like you!

Meghan said...

I love turkey meatballs

... I have a similar recipe too that I use 98% of the time.

This looks really tasty.