Monday, September 17, 2012

Balsamic Pine Nut Pasta Toss with Meatballs

For years I had a kid who was not fond of sauces or spreads of any kind.  This made things a little challenging when invited to dinner parties, but actually made things pretty simple at home.  While my friends were coaxing their kids to eat vegetables by slathering them in cheese or were looking for ways to “hide” them in other dishes, all I had to do was produce a bowl of cooked fresh broccoli and some lemon juice, green beans with a little sea salt, or spinach with balsamic vinegar, and there was no coaxing required! (Note: balsamic vinegar is a staple in my kitchen and has never been turned down by my no-sauce kid.)  Pair my non-sauce eating diner with a very lactose intolerant husband, and my cooking was transformed into the mostly whole food, produce-rich, simple presentations that I'm known for today.  Fast-forward a few years and I now have a kid who eats sauces & spreads, but my cooking hasn’t changed that much.  This simple preparation of meatballs with pasta & pine nuts is a sauce-free dish that is easy to put together on short notice and everyone leaves the table satisfied.

Oven Baked Meatballs
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 T chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 sm clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T chopped red onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 T Worcestershire Sauce

Mix ingredients together using your hands.  Form into 1 inch balls and place on foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes in oven pre-heated to 350 degrees.

Balsamic Pine Nut Pasta Toss
  • Cooked thin spaghetti
  • Pine Nuts
  • Freshly shredded asiago or parmesan cheese
  • Fresh Italian parsley
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Meatballs
While meatballs are in the oven, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Sprinkle 1 Tbsp (or more) each of pine nuts and cheese on pasta.  Add parsley to taste.  When meatballs are cooked through, add to pasta dish and drizzle with balsamic. Enjoy!

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