Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spaghetti and Beanballs, Gluten-free

It's been pretty gorgeous outside and it's finally starting to feel like spring. The days are longer, the air smells like pollen and I am craving pasta. What? Why?

I've never been a big pasta eater. On average, I would say I eat it about 5 times a year. The starchy, plain business of it has never appealed to me much. Until now. Maybe it's because I've been running more, working longer and generally creating more of an appetite for myself, but hot dang, a big plate of filling pasta has never sounded better than before this week.

You would think that would be enough. But of course not. How could MEATBALLS fit into this gorgeous mess? Obviously, meat was out. But beans? Totally doable. Enter the beanballs.

These babies turned out fantastic - about 8x better than I thought they would. I used my go-to bean patty recipe (which I just realized I haven't been on here. Soon!) and slightly adapted it to make itty bitty balls for my not-so itty bitty batch of pasta. One main adaption being that I loaded them up with chunks of cheese, which as you see wanted to seep out into the world.

Seriously, these were so good and SO satisfying. I think my pasta ache has been met for the next while. We will see what counts as a "while."

Spaghetti and Beanballs

Ingredients for spaghetti:
12 oz gluten-free spaghetti (or however much you think you will need. I always make extra for leftovers)

2 leeks, sliced
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 package sliced button mushrooms
2 leeks, sliced
1/2 small white onion, chopped

Ingredients for beanballs:
2/3 cup gluten-free oats - separated
1/4 small white onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, minced
2 Tb. ketchup
1 T dried oregano
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 oz cheddar cheese, cubed into

To do:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and put a large pot of salted water on to high heat for your pasta water. Prepare a baking sheet with sprayed olive oil or a silpat.

2. In a food processor,  grind 1/3 cup of the oats, onion, garlic, ketchup, and oregano together until ground fairly well together. Add in the chickpeas and process until the mixture is chunky and still holds together. Dump into a medium bowl and stir in the remaining 1/3 cup oats. It will be a little wet and sticky, but that's ok.

3. roll together roughly 1 tablespoon of the beanball "dough" and form it around a cube of cheese. Place on the baking sheet and repeat until the dough is gone.

4. Pop the beanballs into the oven for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the pasta.

5. Your pasta water should be boiling now. Add it in and swirl around a bit to get it all submerged and separated. Gluten-free pasta is tricky as it liked to stick together, so make sure you give it a good swirl every 2 minutes.

5. Heat the onion and leeks over medium heat in oil until tender, about 3 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. (Remember to stir your pasta!) Add in your tomatoes when the pasta is done so they don't get too mushy.

6. When your pasta is done, scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water to add in later. Drain your pasta, rinse with cold water, and immediately transfer to the pot you cooked it in. Add your sauce and mushroom mixture stat so the noodles don't stick together. Give it all a good stir and pour in 1 tablespoon of the pasta water at a time until you obtain the consistency you desire.

7. The meatballs should be finishing up about now - they should be slightly crunchy on the outside. Plate the spaghetti with the beanballs on top and enjoy!

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