Spaghetti Squash and Meatball Sauce Recipe

Paleo Spaghetti and MeatballMaking the best of meatballs and a bolognese sauce, my meatball sauce packs tons of flavor into every bite. Instead of making a sauce and adding meatballs, I used the same ingredients traditionally used for meatballs to create a sauce. Think of it as a de-constructed meatball in a savory gravy. I incorporate meatloaf mix (85% ground beef, 15% ground pork, and 5% ground veal) instead of just ground beef to boost the flavor quotient of the meat. Another secret ingredient is my basil pesto. I make my own pesto, but if you’re into dairy, you can grab the pre-made pesto in the deli to save a little time. The combination of the super juicy meatloaf mix, a couple cans of tomatoes, and a little basil pesto turn up the volume on the classic spaghetti and meatball!

Spaghetti Squash and Meatball Sauce
 
Before going Paleo, my family ate pasta at least once a week. So cutting grains meant my go-to, super simple, speedy pasta wasn’t an option. Then I tried spaghetti squash. Honestly, I was stunned; the consistency was so similar to pasta and it was easy to make—cut, de-seed, and plop in the oven for 35 minutes. What I really learned from going grain-free was all the flavors of spaghetti that I yearn for come from the sauce, not the noodles. My sauce combines hearty, chewy qualities of meatballs with the cooked-all day flavors of traditional Sunday gravy. It’s really thick and coats each strand of the squash with the homestyle flavors you crave.
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 large spaghetti squash
  • 4 oz pancetta, cubed
  • 2 medium onions, chopped finely
  • 2 lb of meatloaf mix (ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal—85%, 10%, 5% respectively)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1⁄3 cup tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
  • 1⁄3 cup basil pesto
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and place in baking dish face-up. Add water to dish until 1 inch of squash is covered. Bake for 35 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the pancetta in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  4. After 2 minutes, add the onions, cook until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the meatloaf mix to pan, brown about 10 minutes. Drain the excess fat. Return the meat to the pan.
  6. Season the meat with salt, pepper, tomato paste, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook together 1–2 minutes.
  7. Stir in garlic, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Add all canned tomatoes and pesto. Simmer for 30 minutes to deepen flavors.
  9. Remove squash from oven, allow to cool. Pull fork vertically through the squash to shred the squash into spaghetti-like pieces.
  10. Add spaghetti squash to the sauce and toss to coat squash evenly.

 

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