The inspiration for these meatballs came from Anna Olson’s Set for the Holidays. I’ve never been crazy about meatballs, but these are fluffy, pleasant-tasting orbs of pork and turkey. I make them with bottled spaghetti sauce, and my kids gobble them up, but if you’re ambitious, make them using homemade sauce.
My family devours this dish and asks for more. Breadcrumbs and eggs add lightness, and cheese adds flavor to these meatballs. I use gluten-free breadcrumbs I make by grinding up dry crusts of gluten-free bread and gluten-free crackers in my food processor. I keep the crumbs in a zip-top bag in my freezer. This meatball recipe calls for shredded Parmesan cheese, but I use a vegan alternative that’s fairly acceptable. I add a little extra salt to make up for the blandness of the vegan cheese substitute.
Cooking gluten-free pasta can be a challenge at first. I’ve overcooked many a pot of gluten-free spaghetti and had to feed it to the dog. Gluten-free spaghetti can go from al dente to glop in under a minute, so watch the spaghetti pot very carefully. After numerous gluten-free pasta failures, I learned to stir the pasta frequently, to start tasting the pasta the second it turns opaque and to rinse the pasta under cold water immediately after cooking. I know, I know, now that spaghetti is cold, but if you don’t rinse it, the threads of spaghetti will glom onto each other, and you’ll have a rubbery mess. Trust me on this one.
Gluten-Free Spaghetti and Meatballs
These light, fluffy meatballs made from turkey and pork simmer in tomato sauce and pair perfectly with gluten-free spaghetti.
- 1 pound gluten-free spaghetti
- 3 cups bottled tomato sauce
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated dairy-free Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Parsley (optional) for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the water in a large pot for the spaghetti.
In an ovenproof saucepan large enough to accommodate the meatballs, heat the tomato sauce to a low simmer.
In a large bowl, blend the meats with the remaining ingredients, except the parsley. It's easiest to do this with your hands.
Roll the meat into 1-2" balls and put them on a plate.
Using a large spoon, gently lower the meatballs into the simmering sauce. Spoon the sauce over the meatballs, and cover the pan.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, cook the spaghetti .
When the pot of water boils, add the spaghetti and stir in 2 teaspoons of salt.
Turn down the heat to a slow simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes. Watch carefully, as gluten-free pasta is easy to overcook. Once it begins to look opaque, taste it for doneness.
When the spaghetti is perfectly al dente, take it off the heat, drain in a colander, and rinse immediately with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking further.
Return the pasta to the pot, and keep it warm until ready to serve.
Serve the meatballs over the spaghetti. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
Made with turkey and pork, dairy-free cheese and gluten-free bread crumbs, these meatballs are light and delicious paired with ordinary bottled pasta sauce.