Friday, January 11, 2013

Gluten Free Spaghetti and Meatballs

Gluten Free, Wheat Free Spaghetti and Meatballs


This evening, we had some very delicious, completely safe-to-eat, spaghetti and meatballs. This dish, by nature, is of course nut-free, and unless you buy the super cheap canned sauce, is usually soy-free. But wheat-free? Here is how we did it:

Gluten Free Spaghetti Noodles

Though I tested negative for Celiac Disease, the gluten-free section of the grocery store has been a life-saver for me. Most things gluten-free are safe for me to eat, though I have still come across some gluten-free items that use (gluten-free) barley and oats, as well as nut and soy ingredients. To my disappointment, some of the otherwise-safe bread mixes come with sesame seeds in them.

That said, gluten-free noodles have come a LONG way, and actually taste good. They come in all sorts of varieties, the most common being a mixture of brown rice and corn. I have also tried 'ancient grain' noodles made from quinoa and amaranth, which are also tasty, but for this meal I used the following noodles:


With noodles, I follow the instructions as given, with the exception of adding a pinch of salt and a couple drops of vinegar. I find that rice-only noodles tend to taste a little bland in comparison to wheat noodles, and the salt fixes that. Here is what the noodles look like cooked:

A dead ringer for wheat, if I do say so myself

When the noodles are done, I like to drizzle olive oil over them, and mix it in all through the noodles. This ensures the noodles keep better, if there are leftovers. Without the oil, they tend to stick together into this Tupperware-shaped glob, and that holds true to wheat noodles as well.

Gluten Free Meatballs

This recipe serves 4, with 2 meatballs per person.

For the meatballs, you will need the following ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 lb ground beef (or ground meat of your choice)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  1. In a large bowl, mix by hand the ground beef and the egg. Then, add in the pepper, salt, garlic, and onion. Next, add the cornmeal, mix well. The mixture should be more dough-like at this point.
  2. Roll between hands into individual meatballs. We divided the 'dough' into 8 meatballs, though you could do smaller if you wish to cook them faster.
  3. In a large skillet pan, add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or oil of your choice) and turn on MEDIUM heat. Add the meatballs, (begin prepping spaghetti sauce now) and cook covered for about 10 minutes, then flip them to cook the other side for another 10 minutes (or until done).

Spaghetti Sauce

For the spaghetti sauce, you will need the following ingredients:
  • 1 28oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 28oz can diced tomatoes (crushed tomatoes work, too)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (or 4 teaspoons garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • dash of salt, or until desired flavor
  1. In a medium saucepan (make sure its large enough for the sauce, plus meatballs), add the cans of tomato. Then, mix in the wet ingredients, followed by the dry ingredients.
  2. Simmer over LOW heat for 20-25 minutes (start boiling water now).
  3. When the meatballs are done cooking, add them to the sauce.

*   *   *

After you have the meatballs and sauce going, start boiling the water for your noodles. After you have flipped the meatballs, and cooked them thoroughly, add them to the simmering sauce. This will allow time for the meatballs to absorb the sauce, and for all the flavors to blend together.

By the time the noodles are cooked, the sauce should be ready. If the noodles finish first, or the sauce finishes first; don't worry about it. It's okay to leave it on simmer for a couple of minutes longer.

When cooking the noodles, the water may become white or yellow in color. This is normal; it's a side effect of them being made of something other than wheat. When you drain them, you can rinse them off with warm water.

To serve, pile the spaghetti on to a plate, grab the meatballs with a pair of tongs and place them on the spaghetti (kind of nuzzle them in there, so they don't roll off the plate). Then, add plenty of sauce with a ladle. As we sliced the meatballs while eating, we soaked up extra sauce with them for each bite--yum.

I like to serve this dish with grated Parmesan as the final touch.

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