Did you know that the classic pairing of spaghetti and meatballs ain’t so classic? Traditionally, in Italy, meatballs, or ‘polpettes’ are simply eaten with sauce, cheese and a mixed salad dressed with olive oil. The pairing of spaghetti and meatballs came to be in America in the 1920’s as spaghetti was one of the only Italian pasta’s available at the time. When my Italian mother told me this, I was as shocked as you are and once you pick you jaw up off the ground, I will share my healthy Italian giant meatballs recipe with you.
The prep time is around 15 mins and they bake (a healthy alternative to frying) for 30 mins in the oven. This recipe yields 9 but you could stretch it out to 12 – 15 if you make smaller sized meatballs. Save time in the following days by storing some of the meatballs, uncooked, in the fridge in an airtight container.
Healthy Italian Giant Meatballs Ingredients
750 grams of lean beef mince
3/4 of a large onion
2 cloves of garlic
60 grams of breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
5 sprigs of fresh parsley
Healthy Italian and Basil Sauce Ingredients
1 tin of chopped tomatoes, drained
200 grams of tomato puree
5 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 sprigs of fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 small carrot, finely chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of olive oil (around 55 grams)
1/2 cup of water
Healthy Italian and Basil Sauce Method
Place a large saucepan on low heat.
Heat the olive oil and add the chopped garlic and onions.
Once the onions are translucent, add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and about half the water.
Stir well and then add the chopped basil, carrots (the carrots give a natural sweetness and are a substitute for sugar which many sauce recipes use) salt, pepper and half of the water.
Leave on low heat and stir in the remaining water after about 20 minutes.
The sauce will be ready after 30 minutes however, if you have the time, I recommend leaving to simmer for 45 minutes before eating.
Healthy Italian Giant Meatballs Method
Start by preheating your oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Finely chop the onion, garlic and parsley.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the mince meat, egg and breadcrumbs.
Add in the chopped onion, garlic, parsley and the grated parmesan cheese. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well with a wooden spoon and then, using your hands, roll the mixture into evenly sized meatballs.
Transfer the balls onto the baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 mins.
Dress with the sauce and enjoy with a mixed green salad.