Mid-week Menu: Pasketti & Meatballs

I know it is a plate of cartoon spaghetti & meatballs, but I swear anytime I watch Disney's "The Lady and the Tramp" with the kids,  I get hungry for pasta. Pasketti and meatballs, as my daughter calls this classic Italian dish, is a great weeknight menu item. The meatballs do take a little bit of time to prepare, but you can make up a batch over the weekend and  throw them in the freezer. I will pack a few in my sons lunchbox with "dip" - marinara sauce or tangy barbecue sauce. The homemade sauce is worth the extra time cutting and chopping vegetables. The slight sweetness of the sauce and chunks of tomato, mushroom, and carrot is delish. Short on time? A  26 ounce jar of Classico Traditional Sweet Basil (gluten free and dairy free) will do the trick too. As for noodles, Tinkyada and Lundberg are my two favorite gluten free noodle brands. They hold up well to cooking and taste very much like traditional, wheat-based noodles.

The Lady's Pasketti Sauce

1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic,minced
1 cup mushroom, chopped
1 14 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes (Red Gold)
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp olive oil

Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, and celery. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add remaining chopped vegetables and saute for 5 more minutes. Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, seasonings and sugar. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired. While sauce is simmering, cook gluten free noodles and drain.

The Tramp's Meatballs
1.2 lbs lean ground turkey (85% preferred, 93% is fine too)
3/4 cup cracker crumbs (Glutino Crackers or Ener-G Gluten Free Breadcrumbs)
1 egg
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1 clove minced garlic
2 tsp minced onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, using your hands, and form into 15-18 meatballs. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place meatballs on lined baking sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and place into spaghetti sauce.

There are two schools of thought on serving: put the noodles on the bottom and the sauce on the top, or mix it all together. I'm a mix it all together kinda' gal, but the choice is up to you. Here's to a Bella Notte!

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