Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spaghetti and Stuffed Meatballs

I'm finding it hard pressed to think of something that couldn't be benefited by getting stuffed.

Tender lentil meatballs with panko, cornmeal, garlic and spices, wrapped around a minced stuffing of zucchini and eggplant. Fried, than baked and served with tomato basil marinara and spaghetti.

Stuffed Meatballs

6 tbl canola oil
1 zucchini, minced
1 eggplant, peeled, cut into thick slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups red lentils
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried basil, divided
1 tsp dried marjoram
3/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 450.
Lay the eggplant slices on some paper towels and salt heavily. Let sit for 15 minutes until the salt has pulled out moisture from the eggplant. Pat to dry and mince.
In a saute pan, heat 2 tbl oil and saute the zucchini and eggplant until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 1 tsp dried basil, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes and toss to combine. You want the filling to still have some texture so don't cook the vegetables until completely soft. Set stuffing aside and allow to cool.
In a sauce pot, add 3 cups of water and lentils and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and set aside.
Mash the lentils into a thick puree and add the cornmeal, oats, panko, oregano, parsley, 1 tsp of basil, marjoram, garlic powder, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. Stir to combine, adding 2 tbl of oil if dry. If more moisture is needed, add a little bit of water at a time. Form into equal sized balls.
Take one ball and place it in the palm of your hand. Smash the ball down flat and put one teaspoon of filling in the center. Enclose the stuffing into the ball and roll up back into a ball again.
Heat up 1/4 cup canola oil up in a saute pan and fry the meatballs until browned and crispy. Transfer the meat balls to a sheet pan, or pop your saute pan in the oven and continue to cook through for 20 more minutes.

Spaghetti & Tomato Basil Sauce
1/2 lb spaghetti noodles
Tomato Basil Marinara

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water for 8-10 minutes for until al dente.
Prepare the marinara sauce.

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