Spaghetti and meatballs is a really, really delicious combination. It can also be a pain in the butt to make, and it’s packed with carbs – uh, not that we care. This version is way easier than the traditional version, and it’s a wee bit healthier, to boot… you know, for the sake of New Year’s resolutions and all that stuff. Bonus: 99% (disclosure: we didn’t actually do the math) of this recipe is prepared on the grill, so there’s very little cleanup. It’s a win-win-win.
2 small spaghetti squash
Salt and pepper
½ medium onion
1 clove garlic
½ cup parmesan cheese
¼ tsp chili flakes
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ tsp salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg
1 pound lean ground beef
1 12-ounce can (28 oz) of whole peeled san Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Parmesan, to finish
Fresh basil, for garnish
STEP 1: Assemble your ingredients. As usual, this is the best time to admire said ingredients. The colour, the aroma… take it all in. Oh, also preheat the BBQ to medium and throw a big pan on the grill. This paella pan does the trick. If you don’t have a pan, that’s okay – just use some greased aluminum foil.
STEP 2: Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and then scoop out all of the guts. If you’re a real go-getter, you can wash and roast the seeds like you would with pumpkin seeds. We, however, are not go-getters.
STEP 3: Pour some olive oil over the cut side of each squash half. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over top, too.
STEP 4: Place the seasoned halves of squash on the pan, cut-side down. Close the lid, and cook for about 25 minutes, or until they’re tender to the touch (so, so tender).
STEP 5: Meanwhile, prepare your balls. Finely chop the onion, mince or grate the garlic, and grate the cheese. Combine these, along with the other meatball ingredients, in a bowl.
STEP 6: Next, divide the mixture into 16 balls. You can change up the number of balls, but keep in mind you’re using 4 skewers, and you want an even amount of balls per skewer. Four balls seem to be ideal.
STEP 7: Thread the balls on the skewers, leaving just a bit of space between each ball. Also, if you can use double-pronged skewers, do it; it just keeps things together, and promotes even cooking of the balls.
STEP 8: Once the squash is all tender, remove it from the pan.
STEP 9: Place the skewers on the pan and close the lid; let them cook for about 10 minutes.
STEP 10: Now, prepare the sauce. Pour your tomatoes into a large bowl. Yes, it’s worth it to fork out on San Marzano tomatoes because they are so much tastier. Also, you could get crushed tomatoes and save yourself a little bit of work, but the flavour of whole peeled tomatoes is so much better.
STEP 11: Squish the tomatoes. This not only prepares them to be the right consistency for the sauce, but it’s a great exercise for those needing to let out a little bit of rage. Just pretend each tomato is actually the head of your enemy and crush away. Add the remaining sauce ingredients (except for the parmesan and basil – you’ll use those at the end!), stir, and transfer to a small saucepan. Cook on low-medium heat while you finish prepping the rest of the meal.
STEP 12: Now that the squash has cooled down a bit, use a fork to pull the flesh from the shell of each half. It’s not nearly as violent as it sounds.
STEP 13: Turn the meatballs over and continue to cook until they’re nicely browned on all sides.
STEP 14: Once fully cooked, place one skewer on each squash half, and then gently remove the balls from the skewers.
STEP 15: Scoop a generous amount of sauce over each squash and meatball combo, and top with more parmesan cheese and some fresh basil.
Fantastic looking recipe…one I can’t wait to try!