I've never had a meatball, or a vegetarian meatball. I've always thought to myself I'd like to try to make them at some point but never got around to it. I think meatballs are so cute, I don't know why, maybe the song, "on top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese..." or that children's book, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs", or the adorable little meatballs with eyes and smiles that are on children's menus at Italian restaurants?
If you don't eat meat or just want to try some vegetarian meatballs or "vegballs" here is a great recipe to start with. This is my take on a recipe I saw at allrecipes...
Vegetarian Italian Style Meatballs:
1 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup pecans
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoons salt
2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs (I made them with fresh Italian bread I toasted and then crumbed up in the food processor)
This is a super easy recipe that can be done completely in a large food processor.
Add toasted Italian bread, about 4 slices, or 2 cups of breadcrumbs.
Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse together until well blended.
Here is what your mixture will look like, spray your hands with cooking spray or olive oil and roll into 2 inch balls.
Place balls into prepared 9 by 13 glass dish. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
From there you can simmer in sauce for a few minutes and serve with your spaghetti! I did use Ina's sauce recipe featured with her Meatballs recipe...
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (used dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
I added 1 tablespoon sugar, I always do with sauce, it's the way I've learned growing up -- the sugar helps with the tomato acidity...apparently. I've also heard that the sugar 'trick' is nothing more than bad advice. But I like to add it anyway.
I figured why not go all out for Barefoot Bloggers this week and make my own spaghetti. I used my lello pastamaster 3000 and the recipe on the back of Bob's Red Mill Semolina Flour ( recipe here ) + 1/2 cup bread flour. The spaghetti turned out perfectly!
Here are a couple bread shots...I made the Italian bread ( recipe here -- changes were to use 3 teaspoons yeast and bake in the oven 350 for 35 minutes after a 30 minute rise post shaping) this morning just to be able to have some fresh breadcrumbs for my vegetarian meatballs (vegballs).
The second loaf was great with our meal, and I also have plenty left for some more homemade breadcrumbs.
Now I have a special little treat to get you in the mood for Valentine's Day -- chocolates!
Don't those look wonderful? I was so excited when See's Candies asked if I would like to sample some of their chocolates and write about them here at Nummy Kitchen. Of course I would! Soon this sweetly wrapped box of chocolates arrived and we were all in chocolate heaven.
Look at that variety! I had to cut them all in half for a chocolate sampling with my three very excided little ones. Don't worry, we didn't eat the whole box at once. But we did all enjoy the homemade taste of See's chocolates. The fillings were delicious, my favorite was the ultra moist coconut, no dry stuff here, you can tell that these were fresh chocolates.
Chocolate in dino jammies, what could be better? I don't know, and neither did my youngest, he was pretty happy with those chocolates. If you are looking for Valentine's Day gifts for someone special, or for yourself (nothing wrong with that :) ), I would highly suggest See's Candies. We were all very happy with our See's chocolate treats!
I will leave you all with one last shot of my first ever meat free "meatballs" -- what a fun Barefoot Bloggers pick!