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Friday, June 22, 2012

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto Meatballs & Homemade Marinara

I love meatballs. I really do. They are hearty, maintain an inner juiciness while having a browned and almost crispy outside, and are just plain delicious. They are also totally versatile and fun to play around with because while the classic meatball is usually made of ground beef, there are no LIMITS to the flavors, spices, and ingredients one can use to make a "meatball." When Tamara and I made a plan to cook dinner, I wanted to try a new take on the classic, by infusing meatballs with pesto. The pesto gives them an incredibly fresh flavor and a nice basil-y parmesan taste. It also makes them supa supa moist. Baking them rather then pan frying them also adds to their juiciness and subtracts excess oil. Served atop zucchini noodles and a homemade marinara sauce, this is clean dish that while totally tasty, will leave you feeling light. You might be asking whats the deal with these zucchini noodles? They are my recent favorite pasta substitute. They're lighter then pasta and in this case, marry perfectly with the pesto in the meatballs. TRY IT.

Pesto Meatballs, serves 4 hungree people

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh pesto
1/2 an onion, diced
garlic powder

Recipe: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl combine the beef, egg, bread crumbs, pesto, and onion. Add a generous sprinkle of each of the spices and mix until well combined.
 Mix it up.
Rub a baking sheet with olive oil. Mold the mixture into 2 inch balls, spacing them evenly on the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes on 375. Turn on the broiler and cook with a watchful eye for 2 minutes, until the tops get a little crispayyy.

Simple Marinara Sauce, serves 4

1/2 a red onion
3 garlic cloves
olive oil
2 sixteen oz. cans of puréed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes, drained

Recipe: Dice the onion and garlic. Coat the bottom of a large sauce pan with olive oil and heat until hot. Add the garlic and cook until browned, 3 minutes. Add the onion and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the puréed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Cover with a lid and cook on high for 15 minutes, then move to simmer and cook for 40 more minutes. Season with salt, pepper, basil and oregano.

Zucchini Noodles, serves 4

5 zucchini
olive oil
garlic powder
1 tbs lemon juice

Recipe: Peel the skin off of the zucchini. Using a peeler, shave the zucchini into thin sheets, like ribbons.
In a skillet heat some olive oil. Add the lemon juice and a generous amount of sly and garlic powder to the oil. Add the zucchini, toss so it is we'll coated in the oil.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until the zucchini softens yet still has a bite.

Assembly: Serve some zucchini noodles wit a scoop of marinara and a few meatballs. Add some sprinkled goat cheese and ENJOY.

shoutout to my sous-chefs for the evening: Naz, Tamara, and Emma. THNX

iz meatball mania

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